Do you ever wonder where roadkill goes? As a child, you may have imagined those prostrate animals on the highway were just sleeping, but now you know better. In fact, if you hit a deer or other small animal with your car as an adult, you likely realize you fatally doomed the poor creature or injured it for life.
There are people who properly deal with roadkill in a variety of ways, though. Some animal carcasses look as hauntingly beautiful in death as they did in life, and some deceased creatures even contribute to animal research.
These facts about roadkill will blow your mind and possibly make you a bit more careful on the road.
Millions of animals die annually because of car collisions. In fact, vehicles are more deadly for animals than either hunters or animal-testing laboratories, and these fatalities widely impact the ecological system. To animals like caribou or Florida panthers, the threat from cars is even more serious than that of habitat loss. Already endangered creatures, such as bighorn sheep, red wolves, desert tortoises, and American crocodiles, face an even greater risk.
Furthermore, vehicular damage from wildlife collisions costs about $3.6 billion a year.
Much like humans, if dead animals don't receive proper care after passing, they experience bloating. In particular, gas can build up in the roadkill carcass and occasionally even make it explode.
If and when the creature's skin splits, entrails and dark-colored blood may pour out.
Animals don't usually die immediately after being struck by a car. In fact, highway technicians often encounter animals still clinging to life. Those people typically enlist state troopers to put the animals out of their misery quickly.
Road technicians encounter plenty of potential health risks and hazards when they interact with roadkill. For example, deceased animals often carry rabies, so disposing of them requires extra caution. Skunks' bad odor stick around posthumously. And transporting a bear from the roadside is physically exhausting.
Moreover, the workers don't typically wear protective clothing.