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Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Road Vehicles & Animals Are Poor Bed Fellows

When I started driving almost 20 years ago it was not un-common to see squashed Hedgehogs littering the roads. These wonderful creatures were very common visitors to British gardens. We ourselves had a family of them living under our shed in the mid 1990’s, but we haven’t seen them for at least 5 years now. Recent research has shown that one of the reasons for their decline has been their terrible road sense. When did you last see one of these prickly wonders?

I myself am very proud to admit that in all my time as a driver I never run over one. However, I did once hit a fox on a country road late one summer night and I was quite upset about it at the time.

It is a sad fact that a huge number of wild animals are killed each year on our roads. With the rise of car usage there is little we can do about these road deaths, except to keep our eyes open and watch where we are going.

On my way to work each morning I ride along the A22-Caterham By-Pass. This section of road seems to be a particularly dangerous place for animals to be crossing at night. There always to be at least one animal corpse each morning. These have included Badgers, Gray Squirrels and a fortnight ago a Cat. I think seeing the Cat upset me the most.

As a Cat lover myself I know exactly how it feels to lose one to a road accident. About 10 years ago we lost one of our 2 cats in exactly this manner. That's her in the picture at the top. My wife and I were so distraught that we had to take time off work to cope with our loss. I ashamed to say that I have felt less sadness when loosing a (not so close) relative. Fortunatly her sister is still with us and forms a very big part of our family. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will have seen many pictures of her here.

The point to this posting is that I saw an unexpected deceased animal at the road-side this morning. It was a rather large brown rat. It’s certainly a new one on me. It wasn’t on the Caterham by-pass either. It was in the middle of a housing estate in Sanderstead Surrey, which I’m led to believe is quite a well to do area. I suppose it’s representative of the increasing number of rats that live around us today. We are told that here in the UK we are never more than 6 feet away from at least one of these creatures. Not a nice thought, I think you’ll agree.


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