Lovesick Animals Blind to Road Dangers

Animal Planet :: News :: Animals Disregard Traffic

Picture(s): AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty |

A Moose in the Mood?
A bull moose crosses a road, possibly on the trail of a fertile doe. Moose and other animals are often oblivious to traffic during the November mating season, resulting in about 100,000 collisions in Canada each year.


Lovesick Animals Blind to Road Dangers


Nov. 8, 2005 — During this mating season in Canada, amorous deer, elk and moose crossing roads and highways in search of love are more often bumping into motor vehicles instead, according to the latest crash statistics.

In the past decade, the number of wild animals hit by speeding cars and trucks has doubled to about 100,000, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in damage and healthcare costs, according to officials.

A handful of people and thousands of animals also die each year in collisions, although still too few to threaten hoofed populations.

Darrell Crabbe, executive director of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, said deer hardly eat, rarely sleep and think only about sex in November, so motorists should be extra cautious.

“They suffer from tunnel vision this season. You can honk your horn, but they probably won’t acknowledge you if they’re hot on a doe’s trail,” he said. “They have no inhibitions this time of year.”

“It’s like a teenage boy at a prom with a pocket full of condoms.”

Wildlife proponents blame the construction of new roads in rural areas and communities stretching further and further into animal habitat for the carnage. Reporting of mishaps has improved too, Crabbe noted.

Governments have responded by installing fences along major highways, sometimes negatively affecting animal migration patterns, and clearing brush near roads to improve visibility.

As well, government sponsored advertising campaigns encourage drivers to slow down.


Name: Moose (Alces alces)
Family: Cervidae (Deer and Relatives)
Range: Northern North America, Europe, and Asia
Habitat: Coniferous forests around marshes and bogs
Diet: Twigs, bark, roots, shoots, aquatic plants, and conifers
Size: Up to 10 ft in length and 1,810 lbs in weight
Description: Brownish-gray coat; broad muzzle; furred dewlap; males have massive, palm-shaped antlers; pale, long legs; wide hooves
Cool Facts: Its antlers may measure as much as six feet across and weigh up to 70 pounds. It’s called an “elk” in Europe and Asia. The male’s antlers fall off every winter.
Conservation Status: Common


Copyright © 2005 Discovery Communications Inc.

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