Previous studies suggest that eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) avoid roads, but it is unclear whether vehicle traffic plays a role in this avoidance. The purpose of this study was to determine whether road avoidance in chipmunks increases with traffic. We tracked the movements of 68 chipmunks released near roads with widely varying volumes of traffic. Our results suggest that chipmunks responded to changes in traffic volume only in the preliminary stages of their movement pathways. Apart from this initial response, we found that road avoidance was independent of traffic, with evidence that chipmunks avoided both the roadside verge and the road surface. Because avoidance of roads was independent of traffic, effects of roads on populations of chipmunks may be manifest more as population subdivision than as direct mortality.
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