Desiccation of herpetofauna on roadway exclusion fencing
Keywords:Road ecology, road-effect mitigation, snakes, frogs, Presqu’ile Provincial Park, protected areas, southern Ontario
Significant advances have been made to minimize the detrimental effects of roads on wildlife, but little is known about unintended negative consequences of mitigation strategies. Here, we present observations of adverse effects on herpetofauna of exclusion fencing at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, Ontario. A total of 15 individuals (one salamander, nine anurans, and five snakes) were found dead on unburied fencing, apparent victims of desiccation and/or heat exposure. Air temperatures did not differ between days when dead herpetofauna were and were not found on the fence; however, the fence surface was significantly warmer than the air. Our study shows that fence temperature and design may hinder animals escaping from the road to cooler refugia, and we discuss possible solutions.
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