A field hamster has chosen a building site in Euerbach in Bavaria to be its winter hibernation spot. Although a seemingly harmless occurrence, this means that building of a bypass has to be delayed until next spring.
The building of a bypass and a roundabout was meant to commence at the start of Autumn die Welt reports, but because the hamster found living on the building site is endangered, construction had to be postponed until late April or even May.
According to Germany's 'Red List', field hamsters, or 'cricetus cricetus', are considered endangered in Bavaria and critically endangered in Germany, and therefore killing the hamster or destroying its habitat would have criminal consequences.
Field hamsters are more common in the region of Schweinfurt where Euerbach is located, as the soil there is especially good.
People are not allowed to move the hamster, apart from in exceptional cases and particularly not during their hibernation period.
The hamster can only be moved by experts once he wakes from his winter sleep and is active once again. This could take until May to happen.
This isn't the first time that this species has held up building work in the region. Ten years ago, construction of a large furniture shop was held up when 180 field hamsters had to be removed, Die Welt reports.
The decline in the field hamster population is due to intensive agriculture, field hamster expert Steffen Jodl told Bayerische Rundfunk
Digging of the soil and adding manure or pesticides mean they can't find food for winter. Additionally, the hamsters' habitat is becoming smaller and smaller because of construction projects and roads.
A field hamster being transported. Photo: DPA