The evironmental impact of roadkill

It’s not a pleasant topic, but one that needs addressing. Did you realize that the animals you accidentally hit with your car may wind up killing many others?

It’s a horrid feeling, that “thump” as you hit an animal with a vehicle. I hit a kangaroo once while travelling at around 100km/hr (60 mph). It did a fair amount of damage to my van, but even though it was killed pretty much instantly, I was upset for a long time about killing the poor creature.

When we accidentally hit animals, most people don’t bother stopping and leave the animal where it lies. There’s a couple of issues here:

a) The animal may still be alive and in need of assistance

b) If the animal is indeed dead, the carcass will attract other animals who may feed on it.

If the animal you’ve killed is still on the road or just on the side of it; the chances are great that other animals coming in to feed may be hit by another vehicle. In Australia alone, it’s estimated that over 10 million animals are killed in this way.

Wherever you can, drag the animal well away from the road. I suggest keeping a pair of gloves in your car for this purpose – gloves can also be handy in the case of breakdowns. This can help protect you from any disease that the animal may be carrying and lessen the chances of coming into contact with other parasites. Soak the gloves in bleach if you should find the need to use them for this purpose.

Caution: be extremely careful before moving the animal that it is in fact dead. An injured animal can be understandably aggressive.