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UK roadkill stats

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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 07:18   #1
andyadcock
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UK roadkill stats

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48886673
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 07:37   #2
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Has anyone ever seen a roadkilled Badger in the middle of the road. I can never understand how every single one I see is in the verge. You'd think, statistically, 50% would be in the middle of the road?

There is a "suggestion" that many roadkill badgers aren't roadkill, but killed by other means, and then dumped by the roadside.

Pheasants are complete nutters, not surprised they top the bird list. I hit one a few years back. Turned the car round to see if it was actually dead and not suffering (it was a glancing knock), and promptly hit another one!
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 07:42   #3
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I suppose it's possible people move the Badgers from the road to the verge but you could be right there.
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 07:56   #4
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I guess it could be that they have a moment to react, and are clever enough to dive for the nearest safety, so they either escape, or get caught near the verge.
Unlike Squirrel, and Pheasant that don't seem to appreciate where to head for safety, and often just run in circles
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 08:11   #5
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Has anyone ever seen a roadkilled Badger in the middle of the road. I can never understand how every single one I see is in the verge. You'd think, statistically, 50% would be in the middle of the road?

There is a "suggestion" that many roadkill badgers aren't roadkill, but killed by other means, and then dumped by the roadside.

Pheasants are complete nutters, not surprised they top the bird list. I hit one a few years back. Turned the car round to see if it was actually dead and not suffering (it was a glancing knock), and promptly hit another one!
Heard that too on Badgers - wouldn't surprise me if it applied to other predatory species found beside roads. Few will be collected for autopsies, so it's a convenient way for gamekeepers to dispose of their crimes.

Pheasants are so bad because they don't have parents to teach them how to live. Most are 'orphans' from giant hatcheries, destined to be shot for fun by tw*ts.
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 08:21   #6
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Has anyone ever seen a roadkilled Badger in the middle of the road. I can never understand how every single one I see is in the verge. You'd think, statistically, 50% would be in the middle of the road?

There is a "suggestion" that many roadkill badgers aren't roadkill, but killed by other means, and then dumped by the roadside.

Pheasants are complete nutters, not surprised they top the bird list. I hit one a few years back. Turned the car round to see if it was actually dead and not suffering (it was a glancing knock), and promptly hit another one!
I can imagine that maybe a glancing blow could hurl them to the verge or, if they're not killed outright, they could crawl there to die?

Another possibility is that just as with your pheasant, people stop to see if the animal is dead and move it if it is? I think if animals are killed illegaly, there are much easier and more discreet ways of getting rid of them than dumping them roadside?

Pheasants are just stooopid, I remember twitching a Pacific GP in Cambs I think it was. We were doing about 90mph when we saw, in the distance, a Pheasant at the side of the road. It had two choices, walk calmy off in to the roadside field or die under a speeding car, guess which it chose and boy did it do some damage to my mates car!
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 08:51   #7
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Another possibility is that just as with your pheasant, people stop to see if the animal is dead and move it if it is? I think if animals are killed illegaly, there are much easier and more discreet ways of getting rid of them than dumping them roadside?
I don't pretend to know the answers here. I suspect it's a mixture of all the possibilities. Dumping shot Badgers to make them look like roadkill I would bet has happened, but not every dead badger you see roadside has been thrown out of a car!
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 09:02   #8
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At work (driving trains) I think Roe Deer would probably be top of my mammal list. Badger and Fox would probably come next, along with a few bats and squirrels (only Greys nowadays though).
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 09:34   #9
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Surprised Rabbits don't feature more prominently, though their population has been low due to diseases the last 2 or 3 years until this year. I'm seeing a lot more live Rabbits this year so there may be more roadkilled now too.
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 10:08   #10
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I have seen Badgers dead in the middle of the road on a number of occasions, in one instance one was in the middle early in the morning and at the roadside later in the day when I came back past. Not sure how it moved there, but presumably someone rather than something did it. Many years ago a colleague used to pick Badgers up as roadkill to remove an ear for some analysis work that was being done, I can imagine she moved a good many to the roadside in her time.
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 19:57   #11
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I think badgers may be foraging on the roadside, not trying to cross. Or are too slow to cross the road. An animal like a squirrel or a bird is fast enough almost to cross the road in front of the car. It gets killed in the middle. A badger presumably is not.

I agree pheasants are idiots. They, and a number of other animals, skulk on the roadside. In the last moment, they feel their cover is blown. Panic! And run right in front of the car. There is nothing a driver can do.

What is interesting, that crows and ravens often scavenge roadkill, but are clever enough not to get killed themselves. Shows what is the second most clever life form in Britain after man.

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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 20:52   #12
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Badgers are rubbish at crossing roads. Their technique is in two main types:

- take a run up from way back and keep going

- stand on the verge (or road edge, which is the problematical bit) and try to see what's going on.

Results from the first method are all you would imagine: results from the second tend to involve the near-sighted Badgers edging gradually out and getting clipped. (This was all presented some years ago on either Springwatch or The One Show, can't remember which, by a badger researcher.) Allegedly the results are distorted to some extent by badger baiting victims being dumped as fake roadkill by the a******es who do it.

I was once tooling down the A303 overnight near Sparkford and saw a heavily smeared Badger across a length of dual carriageway. Round the bend the crumpled remains of the three-wheeled Ferrari that had hit it were nestling in the central reservation. Its a very solid animal to hit.....

Foxes normally use judgement to cross roads but occasionally get it wrong. Traffic predation on dispersing juveniles is higher than on adults: juveniles are more likely to panic and just go for it. Death/injury depends on traffic speed (if you hit a fox at forty miles an hour, you'll probably kill it: if you hit it at thirty miles an hour or less, it'll probably live). At any given time at least one of my visiting group of foxes has a permanently debilitating rear leg injury which I attribute to local traffic being usually at thirty or less but with a wild child element - or chav, tbh - that frequently travels faster.

In Fleet my brother has observed vixens teaching cubs how to cross roads by sitting and watching the traffic, waiting for a gap. I've seen adult foxes doing exactly that.

Hedgehogs don't stand a chance.

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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 21:07   #13
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It reminds me a sad sight few years ago. I was driving at night, and saw three fox cubs on the road. Two were playing merrily. The third was lying dead few feet away, already killed by a car. Probably a vixen was denning in a roadside burrow. The next night the two cubs were still there and playing, the dead one was gone.

Cats, in turn, are sometimes stupid enough to jump in front of the driving car, but agile enough to jump unharmed out between front and rear wheels of a driving car. I saw it twice.

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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 21:30   #14
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Hedgehogs don't stand a chance.

John
Oh, I don't know, I managed to dodge one a couple of days ago.
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 21:42   #15
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Oh, I don't know, I managed to dodge one a couple of days ago.
Good year tick! They're so rare now round here you don't even see dead ones.

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Old Sunday 7th July 2019, 08:16   #16
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Good year tick! They're so rare now round here you don't even see dead ones.

John
Same here in Nottm, haven't seen one dead or alive in a very, very long time.

I see them in our village in Russia though where they still seem to be plentiful.
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 10:44   #17
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Has anyone ever seen a roadkilled Badger in the middle of the road. I can never understand how every single one I see is in the verge. You'd think, statistically, 50% would be in the middle of the road?

There is a "suggestion" that many roadkill badgers aren't roadkill, but killed by other means, and then dumped by the roadside.
Interesting point. I hadn't thought of this.
I've often used the site of roadkill to see where Badges may be present. On occasion I've assumed where the area is not suitable that it could be a young roaming male (though aware they do travel a distance to find food.)
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 11:53   #18
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Surprised Rabbits don't feature more prominently, though their population has been low due to diseases the last 2 or 3 years until this year. I'm seeing a lot more live Rabbits this year so there may be more roadkilled now too.
My thoughts too. Can't believe Rabbits aren't even in the top three. However, the map clearly shows that most of those reported roadkill victims are on Motorways or dual carriageways.

Perhaps Rabbits don't feature because they may well get cleaned up by other predators - even Red Kites nowadays - I saw one swoop down to a roadside victim on the A303 a couple of years ago.

Also, Badgers and Foxes being much bigger are easier to see. And small mammals will disintegrate quickly - especially on a Motorway.
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 14:00   #19
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[quote=Jon Turner;3873624 And small mammals will disintegrate quickly - especially on a Motorway. [/QUOTE]

Not so much disintegrate as get trodden into the road and become invisible, very quickly. There's kind of a critical size at which animals move from being avoided when dead by car drivers - truck drivers don't need to bother except for really big animals like deer - to being just a minor bump that isn't worth risking steering around.

But I would also say there's a size at which carrion becomes hard to move - motorway verges have a lot of dead pheasants on, so I assume these are hard to lift for Southern UK raptors, whereas rabbits are maybe just a bit less awkward to move.

Very small mammals vanish in minutes - I found a run-over Bank Vole years ago (identified from bi-coloured tail of suitable length) and when I passed again less than an hour later it was just a stain on the road.

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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 16:47   #20
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I live near RSPB Saltholme, Teesside, the reserve is surrounded by roads where people drive so fast with no concern or thought about wildlife, an Otter family got wiped out in no time a few years ago, dare I suggest speed limits could be applied near nature reserves?, then again, who is there to police it?
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 23:05   #21
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I’ve seen plenty of dead badgers in the middle of the road.

And every dead badger I have ever checked has appeared to be a genuine road-killed Badger. Badger baiters(as long as they kill badgers at the sett where they have dug them) usually bury the bodies in the hole they have dug, to take the badgers out).

So I would say that most badgers bodies on roads are road-kill. With the odd exception.

I’ve come across foxes, badgers, hares, squirrels, hedgehogs, rabbits
, owls & other bird species all of which have been hit by cars but not killed. It’s disappointing that people leave them lying suffering by/on the road.
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 23:31   #22
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And every dead badger I have ever checked has appeared to be a genuine road-killed Badger. Badger baiters(as long as they kill badgers at the sett where they have dug them) usually bury the bodies in the hole they have dug, to take the badgers out).
I at least was thinking more of gamekeepers, than badger-baiters. They seem more prone to extreme measures to dispose of potentially incriminating evidence - some keepers have been known to take satellite-tagged raptor carcasses out to sea for disposal, to make it look like they "got lost at sea and drowned" (that the location plot showed the bird following an A road to a port before going out to sea rather gave it away though!).
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Old Monday 22nd July 2019, 06:43   #23
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I live near RSPB Saltholme, Teesside, the reserve is surrounded by roads where people drive so fast with no concern or thought about wildlife, an Otter family got wiped out in no time a few years ago, dare I suggest speed limits could be applied near nature reserves?, then again, who is there to police it?
A good idea.
Perhaps rather than a possibly unenforceable speed limit a few strategically placed speed bumps would help?
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Old Monday 22nd July 2019, 11:51   #24
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A good idea.
Perhaps rather than a possibly unenforceable speed limit a few strategically placed speed bumps would help?
Easier said than done on a major A road carrying a lot of heavy tanker traffic, unfortunately.
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Old Monday 22nd July 2019, 16:45   #25
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Ahh, I see.
Probably not a good idea then.
Any chance of a re route or wildlife tunnels?
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