Monday, July 10, 2006

It’s A Hot Time For Roadkill

CHARLEVOIX, Michigan (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Summertime and the living is easy – unless, you’re an animal; in which case you’re running the highest risk of becoming roadkill.

Roadkill researcher Roger M. Knutson, author of Flattened Fauna: A Field Guide To Common Animals Of Roads, Streets, And Highways (Ten Speed Press), says that the mid- to late-summer period is a fertile time for roadkill, especially for mammals and birds.

One report suggests that 63 percent of squashed sparrow sightings occur in July, while 31 percent of flattened woodpecker incidents happen in August.

Common reasoning for the rise in roadkill is increased traffic, but Knutson says it’s more biology than tourism behind the spiked squashings.

He says most roadkilled animals are young and naive about the rules of the road, especially because evolution hasn’t yet adapted to the National Highway system.

The animals most at risk of becoming roadkill are turtles, skunks and porcupines because they have no natural predators and, therefore, tend not to be afraid of anything – even a semi- truck charging towards them at 70 mph.

As Kutson points out, “Very few turtles ever get across a road.”

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