The impact on native herpetofauna due to traffic collision at the interface between a suburban area and the greater blue mountains world heritage area: An ecological disaster?

Danny Wotherspoon, Shelley Burgin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Vehicle collision resulting in animal mortality is a common daily occurrence, although few studies have considered the impact on herpetofauna in urban areas. Over a 7 year period (2003 - 2010), 1.4 km of suburban streets of Falconbridge that interface with the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, west of Sydney, was surveyed on foot two to four days a week, typically soon after dawn. Over the period a total of 86 reptiles that represented 20 species: 38% of the lizard and 56% of snake species known from the area were collected as road kills due to collision with vehicles.This equated to approximately one individual per month that was collected across the 7 years. Representatives of six frog species were also identified as road kills (33% of the local frog fauna). In Faulconbridge, 20-30 km of 50 km/hr roadways interface with the national park and there are 26 towns within the World Heritage Area. Each of these towns has a network of streets that covers much more than just the perimeter of the town, and there are two major highways that bisect the World Heritage Area. Although an average death rate of one reptile per month may be considered negligible, the cumulative loss of reptiles due to vehicle collision in the region is an ecological disaster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1046
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Zoologist
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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