ALMOST 4,000 animals have died on UK roads in the last two years – with some unusual victims.
A wallaby on the M1, a peacock and wild boar were all killed by cars after finding themselves on roads.
But by far the most vulnerable was the poor deer – with 1,117 killed since 2016.
The new figures, obtained by Confused.com from Highways England, Transport Scotland and the Welsh Department for Transport, reveal all the unlucky animals.
And statistics could be even higher given 39 per cent of drivers have admitted to hitting an animal – with many not reporting it to authorities.
And shockingly, a fifth of drivers have even considered eating roadkill.
The animals killed on UK roads (2016-2017)
- Deer: 1,117
- Badgers: 915
- Foxes: 756
- Cats: 340
- Dogs: 286
- Unknown: 161
- Otters: 61
- Swans: 58
- Owls: 53
- Birds: 50
- Sheep: 29
- Hedgehogs: 20
- Horses: 18
- Polecats: 16
- Pheasants/Rabbits/Cows: 4
- Minks/Ferrets: 3
- Pigs: 2
- Goat/Hare/Wallaby/Peacock/Duck/Heron/Wild Boar: 1
And it seems drivers are open to more unusual choices, with one in one 10 saying they would eat swan and 15 per cent would eat squirrel.
The law around animals on the roads can be a grey area for drivers. For example, it is illegal to hit an animal with intention and take it home for dinner.
But if you see roadkill which has already fallen victim to a car you may pick it up, providing it is safe to do so.
Coming up against an animal in the road can leave drivers with a moral dilemma, too.
Nearly half have dodged hitting an animal while driving, however one in 10 drove on as they didn’t want to put other drivers or themselves at risk.
Hitting an animal can also be dangerous, particularly larger animals that can cause damage to cars. In fact, hitting an animal has cost drivers an average of £255 in damage costs.
What to do if you hit an animal
Just like you would in an accident involving another vehicle, you must stop. But before you approach any animal you must ensure you’re safe.
Make sure the road is clear and you’re visible if the lighting is poor. You don’t want to put yourself or anyone else in any danger.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that legally, you must report hitting the following animals to the police.
- cattle, e.g cows
- donkeys and mules
This applies whether the animal is dead or injured.
Once you’ve reported it to the police, your legal duty is done. If the animal is injured and you wish to help further you can contact the RSPCA’s emergency service on 0300 1234 999 for advice.
Any other deceased animal, whether you’ve hit it or not can be reported to the council. You can do this on the government website.
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Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: "Sadly, the graphic highlights the sheer number of animals killed on our roads, and in the last two years this figure has been in the thousands.
"Unfortunately, being a driver means you have to make difficult decisions when it comes to facing an animal in the road and doing what is safest for yourself and other road users.
"If swerving means putting yourself and other drivers at risk then this should be avoided."
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