Ran over a wild animal. Do you go stop or go back?

Last night Mr moon and I were on our way home and ran over a raccoon. It was in the other lane, but was around a curve, so we didn’t see it until we were already pretty close. Instead of going forward, it turned around and ran back, which put it right under our wheels. Mr moon tried to stop and swerve, but there just wasn’t enough time.

We thought about going back, but didn’t. Given that we ran over it (most likely its head or chest, based on where it was when we made contact), we felt it was pretty likely that it died almost instantly. And if it didn’t, we weren’t sure what we could do. It was in the middle of the highway, at night, in the fog.

But I’m feeling terribly guilty, wondering what if we just ran over its front legs, or what if it laid there and suffered from a mortal but slow-to-kill injury. We both love animals, and felt terrible about the whole thing, but also didn’t know what to do, if anything, to help the poor little guy. :frowning:

So, what would you have done, or what have you done, in the same situation?

Depends on how close to lunch it is.
Truthfully, I would stop if it was safe and be sure it was dead. I would hate to leave an animal to suffer.

I guess you could keep trying to run over it’s head. Other than that what?


I suppose it would depend on the animal. Raccoon? Squirrel? Other small rodent? Sorry, but fuck 'em. Deer? Probably, but more because it’s likely done more damage to me than I have to it(this has happened to me a few times. Damn thing just popped right up and ran off. My car OTOH was fucked). Cat or dog? Yes. Even if dead I’d check for tags and notify the owners. That’s just civil.

I would have just kept going. I saw a rabbit just in front of me one night, standing in the middle of my lane. Thump. What else am I going to do, find a club and finish it off?

Night. Fog. Curve in the road.

Sounds like the makings of a bad thing.

Not worth it for a raccoon.

With my luck, I go back to check on the animal, and it turns out to be a pissed-off werewolf…

I’ve stopped many a time to make sure what I ran over was actually dead. Fortunately they have either been dead dead or have run off and the chances of me finding them to finish them off are nill. I have yet to have to drive over or whatever something to totally finish them off. Doing so just seems to be the human and responsible, if not very unpleasant, thing to do.

Having said that, under the conditions you describe, I think continueing on was a perfectly reasonable and probably prudent thing to do. It terrible that an animal might suffer, but it aint worth the risk of causing an accident involving humans.

Or a were-raccoon, in this case.

Thanks everyone–the opinions you’ve given are kind of what I was thinking too. Much as Mr moon and I love animals, it’s not worth it for either of us to risk our lives, or someone else’s to try to help a probably-already-dead animal.

Every time I find myself thinking of that furry thunk-thud as it ran out in front of the car, I’ll remind myself that it’s in raccoon heaven, chowing down on a bucket of assorted goodies. And hope that it didn’t even have a chance to realize it had made the trip.

I had a friend who hit a dog (he thinks it was a canine at least) on a dark road late at night. He went back and couldn’t find the bugger (and my friend swears it was a direct not glancing blow). I’d imagine for every dead animal you see on the actual asphalt, 5 managed to crawl off and die in the woods/weeds.

I am probably the only one here who does or would do this (but that’s okay I am used to being “unique” and not always in a good way ;)) but this is what I would do (and have done, but only once). First, I keep blankets, towels, and a pretty well stocked first aid kit anyway for people or animal use in an emergency. And unrelated to roadside accidents I also have a list of wildlife refuges and vets that take wild animals. So I would stop if it was safe to do so. I would also look for an animal that may have run off (but not too far) and if the animal did not appear to be mortally wounded (but even a minor injury can be fatal if left untreated in the wild) I would wrap it up, tend to its wounds and/or take it to a wildlife vet or refuge depending on the animal. If the animal appeared to be dying on the spot I would do what I could to comfort it, and if it were already dead I would move it from the road if possible and try to give it a bit of (human) dignity, even though I know that animals don’t care about such things.

All of this though should be taken with the caveat that I am accused on a regular basis of caring more about animals than I do about people (which is only sometimes true ;)) and I am weird in general.

Something similar happened while I was teaching a friend of mine to drive. We were rolling along, my friend doing quite fine and building up confidence behind the wheel. Suddenly, without warning, a cat jumped out from behind some foliage and darted across the road. I don’t know if it went under the wheel, but we both heard the THUMP that it made. We stopped and checked, but couldn’t find the cat at all. Maybe we launched it, or we hit it but it kept going in the direction it was running?

I stop. If it is dead i make sure it is off the road. I have never run over a pet yet but think I would put it roadside so the owners might spot it?

I bury any dead birds or squirrels in the backyard. I don’t want to touch them.

Frankly, this doesn’t sound like a good idea.

First of all, you always have to assume that a wild animal is rabid. A wounded wild animal (or even a domestic one) is likely to lash out with what defenses it has left in fear. Second, unless you are trained in wildlife first aid, there won’t be much that you can do other than call appropriate help or put it out of it’s misery.

It’s great that you know wildlife rescue people, but a call to the local law enforcement will get assistance from the game warden for the critter.

Oh, it is absolutely not a good idea. I should have said that. Most of what I do is not a good idea for anyone, ever.

You are absolutely right. However I always assume that animals are not rabid and will not lash out at me. So far I have been fine (except that I was almost mauled by a bear once, but ended up with just a ripped shirt and a very apologetic bear…different story for a different thread) and as I said I have only had to stop for an animal hit by a car I was in once. In that case, it was a bunny and he was fine with me wrapping him in a towel and taking him to the vet. He recovered and was released a few weeks later.

But again, I was just saying what I would do and I am a bit crazy. I should have mentioned (and strongly) that I do not advise anyone to follow any examples I might provide!

I have heard that, but I have also heard that game wardens are more likely to kill (or euthanize) animals than to spend the time and resources to rehabilitate them, especially in the case of “nuisance” animals like raccoons or possums. The wildlife vets and refuges are much more likely to care for the animal then release it.

the other night a raccoon ran into the wheel of my moving car. It was dark, foggy and in the gloom I suddenly saw a face with teeth bared leaping towards the road as i passed by. Badump a bump. Hit it. Well I didn’t go back, nothing I could do for an injured wild animal with teeth and claws and maybe rabid (it attacked my car!)

I saw it dead in the road the next morning and figured it was now my duty to get a shovel and take care of it, only someone else took care of it for me before I could.:o

I had a deer runn into my van once, I didn’t stop for it either. :confused:

now a pet, I hope I would be able to do the right thing and stop, but it depends I guess.:frowning:

Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid hitting an animal. However, sometimes it is possible to avoid it if one is alert and in control of one’s car. A certain subset of stories about hitting an animal at night and in fog probably mean the driver was going to fast for safety given the poor visual conditions.

Wrong, my speed limit was under 20mph as I had just turned into the neighborhood when the animal jumped toward my vehicle. I did swerve to avoid a possem that was scurrying away at the same time or I would hada two-fer. But at highway speeds I never swerve, just grip the wheel and hope it gets out of the way in time!

My mother ran over a dog in her 20’s and did not drive again for 7 years. I think it can happen even if you are the best driver. My friend hit a Moose and they are not a fast animal but if they suddenly walk in out into the highway they can total your car. Her car was totaled as she hit a Bull Moose.

I came through the toll booth once and noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I am not kidding there was a moose running along side my car as I was accelerating. I was like this is Awesome! I’m racing a Moose. I was up to like 40 miles an hour and he slowly veers off into the trees and it was amazing.

That’s fantastic – because you couldn’t avoid an animal one time, no one else in history could have avoided one, making me wrong? Oh wait, you mention avoiding one in that very accident you describe. So what on earth are you saying “wrong” for?