Animals in the road

laelene Post in general blog

two deer standing in field next to roadway

These deer stayed far away from traffic. 🙂

Ever since I started commuting to work out here in Virginia, I’ve been encountering a lot more animal life along the road. In California, I might see a bunny as I pulled into my residential neighborhood, but otherwise there was pretty much nothing near the roadways. Meanwhile, here I’ve had two harrowing encounters where I thought I might be contributing to the roadkill on the streets. The first was as I was cruising along and I noticed a squirrel running across the road. It seemed confused and disoriented as it jumped back and forth, not quite sure if it should go forwards or backwards. I slowed down significantly to give it the space to figure out how to get off the road. As I passed, I kept an eye on it in my rear view mirror and watched it continue that dance for a bit. Luckily, it seemed to finally figure it out and get out of harm’s way. Then just a few days later, I was on my way in to work and a bird dropped out of the sky. I think it fell from a power line since it landed smack in the middle of the road. Fortunately, it was right along the divider line so I was able to avoid it and so was the car next to me. I was super worried that it would flop around and end up getting crushed by another vehicle, but I never saw roadkill in that part of the road so I’m going to go with the happy ending.

It’s always so sad when I see roadkill along my route. This weekend, I saw a beautiful deer on the shoulder, looking so pristine it could have just been sleeping. Unfortunately that was not the case and it made me sad to wonder what happened and why it got on the road. Over the course of the past month, I’ve seen a variety of animals including raccoons, skunks, and squirrels crushed by the side of the road. I love all creatures and I cringe whenever I come across those depressing scenes. It’s been so many years that I’d sort of forgotten about this part of roadways out here. The last time I lived on this side of the country was back in 2002 and I was just barely learning how to drive. That’s one thing I haven’t missed about life in these parts.

Speaking of all this, I’m reminded of a friend back in my high school in New York who was learning about taxidermy. As part of a research project, she needed a squirrel specimen that she could dissect and stuff. Due to certain regulations, she had to basically look for roadkill that wasn’t too smashed up. It was definitely a strange thing, to be driving around on the lookout for a dead squirrel in near-perfect condition. Lucky for her, she found one just in time to do her project. Certainly not how I wanted to spend my high school days!

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