All About Roadkill

I have two roadkill questions.
First, where does it all go? I figure small stuff gets carried away by carrion birds. Medium stuff gets picked at fairly quickly and is gone after a day or so. But what happens to larger animals, like deer? They don’t stick around, rotting, and they’re too big to be carried off by any local bird. Is there a state agency that’s in charge of scooping up the bodies? Would this be part of a department of transportation, the same way the roads are cleaned of snow?
Second, I actually saw a live raccoon for the first time a few months ago. I have seen dozens at least lying dead by the road or stuffed by a taxidermist, and I’ve seen them on TV, but never a real one. How come? I think they are nocturnal, but I’ve seen plenty of live possums and other nocturnal creatures, just not raccoons. I’m not much of an outdoorsy type, but ot seems that if I see soooo many dead ones, a live one ought to happen across my field of vision more than once.

In montana there’s a poor sad bastard who works for the state and drives around in a pickup truck with a shovel and picks dead stuff up off the road. So thats where they go, poor sad bastard picks them up.

As far as raccoons, I’d just count your lucky stars you haven’t seen them. Cuase I’ve only seen them spreading my trash all over the street and its quite annoying.

Yes, highway maintenance will pick them up. But also, a nice fresh deer might be picked up by an optimist and presented to his wife.

I’ve seen live raccoons in the middle of: San Francisco; Santa Cruz; and Santa Clara. None of them were close enough to rural areas to live there.

PS, country kid speaking: cooking is women’s work, butchering is men’s. And he who catches a fish/deer/duck cleans it.

As for how many live vs dead you see, it’s probably just a combination of happenstance and the fact that, when they’re roadkill, they’re sitting still in a very open place that is frequented by many people. Live wild animals rarely do that. For example, I see barn owls as roadkill all the time and I am told that they are very common in this area. But, I rarely see or even hear the live ones because I just don’t hang out where they usually are.

I think I read this on the message boards someplace:

“You are always within 8 feet of a live spider”

In Ohio, the road departments (or Departments of Transportation) for the State, county, city, or township (depending on who maintains the road) frequently are in charge of removing carcasses. In some locations, the job is handled by the Animal Control (formerly, dog pound) people or the municipal service department. It depends on who has been designated by the respective governmental authorities. There are even a couple of places around here where the police get the job.

I doubt that it is uniform throughout the country. Basically, The Cat has it right; I’m only noting that the particular poor individual is determined by which governemntal agency has jurisdiction.

I’ve never seen a live Armadillo, but when I lived in Texas, I saw hundreds (ok, tens) of "two dimentional " ones :smiley:

In the vast, open, unpopulated, expanses of Australia they seem to just get left to rot and dry. Initially a Kangaroo lying on the side of the road looks like it’s just sleeping, shortly afterwards it appears that some friendly kites or eagles are trying to wake him up. From there the animal gradually dissapears, eventually looking like a dried up fur rug lying flat on the road.

There’s a Mississippi road that’s been here for over 100 years. It was once highway 45 and even though the highway has moved twice, to straighter and wider roads, this one is still here it goes right in front of my house. A few miles away there’s a protected section from when the road was just two sections of 18" concrete, one for each tire.

I drove down it today and wondered what this road would might look like right now if all the animals ever killed on it were still there. :frowning: I’m guessing they’d probably be about 3 feet deep.

In my little area of BC (Canadia) The bears seem willing to help out with the larger animals, i.e. deer. It can be a real ick-fest. Those guys aren’t too good about not spreading the mess about to get at all the “best-bits”.