updated 5/23/2005 10:41:55 AM ET 2005-05-23T14:41:55

It may not help a chicken cross the road, but it may cut down on some roadkill.

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The University of Montana has patented a professor’s invention to help small animals get across busy highways without getting killed.

It’s called “critter crawl” and consists of a metal mesh shelf suspended inside a culvert -- to let animals go under the road instead of across it.

It also has a side tube for use by smaller animals like mice.

Four of the shelves are now being used on a busy highway in southwestern Montana. An ecologist says he’s documented animals like weasels, raccoons and house cats using it.

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