Road Safety for Fauna: A Primer

Gray squirrels: Be decisive don’t zig-zag down the road directly in front of your automotive pursuer. Make up your mind and run to one side or the other.

Red Squirrels and chipmunks: Your bee-line crossings are perhaps the safest but take a moment and look each way before you cross.

Snapping turtles: The speed with which you cross and the natural fear some humans have of you puts you at considerable risk. Beware the helping hand that picks you up and helps you across and remember the adage, “Don’t bite the hand that helps you.” Drivers who stop to help you should know to poke you gently in the nose with a stick until you bite the stick, then carry you to safety to the other side of the road. Sadly there is no way for you to let the good Samaritan know which way you’re traveling. Some do-gooders may just take you back to where your started.

Possum: Go back to Central America where you came from. You don’t belong here and besides most of you freeze to death in our winters.

Highway crows: You’re very wise and could this write this primer yourselves. You eat carrion in the middle of the road, watch warily for cars, and only move when you need to.

Mourning doves: Like crows, you’re high-risk players, standing in the road until the last minute and then taking flight.

Domestic cats and dogs: Don’t play in the road!

East Asian Walking Catfish: You haven’t yet come to Vermont but are on your way I hear with global warming. Take a lesson from possum!

Frogs, newts etc: Don’t go out in the rain; Vermonter’s road slalom skills simply aren’t that good. The obsessive Brits are building highway underpasses for reptiles to reduce your casualties. Some Vermonters are urging we do the same, but most of us just want our highways and bridges fixed.

Bear: You guys don’t seem to be a problem here, perhaps because your food supplies are primarily found on our decks, garages, and campsites. Since the state closed many rest areas and welcome centers, you rarely travel the Interstate anymore.

Moose: A serious problem… a 1200-pound mammal careening through the windshield into the front seat of your Prius bodes ill not only for the you but also the driver. Moose, please keep to your wetlands.

Deer: Don’t be another deer in the headlights! You’re an agile lot. If only you weren’t mesmerized by bright light, you’d be fine. Observe highway signs with your picture on them.

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