Top Roadkill in the United States
By: Good2GoPublished: March 19, 2013
Think about the last time you were on the highway. What did you see? Aside from the scenery, miles of winding roads, toll booths and gas stations, you probably came across an animal or two. It’s one thing to see Bambi foraging on the side of the road. It’s quite another to see its lifeless body in the middle of the road. Animals that have been struck and killed by motor vehicles are called roadkill and it’s a serious problem for both highways and habitats.
In the United States, roadkill statistics estimate that about 1,000,000 of our furry and feathered friends are killed every day on the road! From bunnies to birdies, all kinds of small wildlife have fallen victim to every motor vehicle imaginable. What’s important to note is that larger wildlife such as deer, moose and bears can cause severe damage to your vehicle. These damages have the potential to cause fatalities to you, your passengers and the animals.
With about a million dead animals lying on the highway and other roadways, one has to wonder, what is the most common roadkill?
While roadkill statistics are only available for a handful of states, thanks to the efforts of Roadkill Observation System volunteers, we know that raccoons were the most common roadkill in California for 2011 with close to 1,700 of the fuzzy bandits reported. Coming in at number two were 1,372 striped skunks. Squirrels turned out to have the third highest animal fatality rate at 845.
In Maine, the top animal-casualties reported were: 503 eastern gray squirrels, 447 porcupines, and 266 raccoons. Wild turkeys ranked in at number five with a total of 212 deaths. That’s one way to get a bird for Thanksgiving.
Fact from Down Under: In Australia, vehicles carry a protective “roo bar” to prevent severe damage to vehicles from collisions with kangaroos.
Overall, the U.S. has the highest rate of deer-vehicle collisions. The state of Pennsylvania had the most deer-vehicle crashes with 101,299, followed by Michigan with 78,304 between 2010 and 2011. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that there are more than 1.5 million collisions involving deer each year which results in more than $1 billion in vehicle damage.
So if you find yourself out on the open road and your headlights flash upon the nocturnal eyes of a raccoon, possum or other wildlife, DO NOT SWERVE! While you may think you’re doing the right thing by avoiding the animal, you could potentially swerve into another vehicle or tree if you aren’t paying attention to traffic. Most human fatalities in animal-related crashes are caused by drivers hitting objects rather than the animal.
Fun Fact: Roadkill cuisine is practiced by a small subculture in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as in other parts of the world. Mmm-mmm! Possum stew anyone?
Protect yourself affordably with Good2Go.com auto insurance. Get a cheap car insurance quote today.