On the Roadside

Set free and at large

Motorists fail to stop at

Black and white crossings

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n.b. A recent analysis of animals found dead on the roads of Britain has identified that badgers are the most common wildlife victims of road traffic.

I have seen many dead badgers on roadsides over my years travelling the highways and byways, as well as deer, foxes, squirrels and hedgehogs.

I have to admit that the outcome of this survey surprised me, as hedgehogs and foxes almost carpet the roads at some times of the year. On my travels I have met plenty of people who can tell stories of personal encounters on the roads with live foxes, deer and hedgehogs, but I have never met anyone with a story about running a car into a live badger – despite seeing them littering the gutter and verges in rural areas.

Although there is only one “winner” when the steel of motor vehicles hits a living being, a badger’s body would cause significant damage to panelling of a car. Such incidents would surely lead to a part in motoring anecdotes, but I have yet to hear any such stories; whereas tales of car-strikes on foxes are often shared, for example.

It is understood that in early summer young male badgers start moving on from the family set of their birth to seek out new territories. This movement into uncharted terrain often leads these adolescent animals to encounters with the King’ Highways and motor traffic.

However, badgers are also treated as fair game by some armed with a gun, or dog(s). When illegal baiting, hunting, or shooting has taken place, a common way to dispose of the kill is to leave it by the roadside, to make it seem it has been run-down – so I have been told by a representative of a badger supporting charity. Once a badger has been battered, flattened and tattered by passing traffic it is hard to tell the original cause of the brock’s demise.

Perhaps more research into badger road accidents is needed.

Meanwhile, all hail the vixen who was identified as having trotted from Norway to Canada across the Arctic pack ice; a distance of over 2,700 miles / 3,500 kilometres.

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CLP 09/07/2018