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Roadkill: UK wildlife road death toll revealed

Six badgers, five pheasants and five hedgehogs are run over on UK roads EVERY day, according to a new report by GoCompare.

Small mammals are the most commonly hit animals on our roads (8,580 a year), followed by birds (4,652) and large mammals such as deer (1,000).

Amphibians (72 a year) and reptiles (18) are the lower on the list, however, they are less likely to be reported.

Top 15 most commonly reported animals hit on UK roads

RankAnimalNumber of animals hit by cars
1Badger2,229
2Pheasant2,082
3Hedgehog1,910
4Fox1,525
5Rabbit1,152
6Squirrel1,089
7Pigeon1,080
8Deer991
9Gull301
10Hare223
11Magpie222
12Blackbird217
13Crow191
14Rat161
15Buzzard102

The UK’s longest road, the A1, had the highest percentage of roadkill reported with deer topping the list of animal victims.

Despite being one of the shortest motorways in the UK, just outside Southampton, the M271 has seen the biggest increase in animal casualties – a 6.82% increase on previous years.

Top 10 worst roads for incidents with animals

  1. A1, 7.65%
  2. M6, 7.24% 
  3. A1(M), 6.94%
  4. A419/A417, 6.18%
  5. A19/A168, 5.24%
  6. A66, 4.24%
  7. M62, 4.06%
  8. M1, 3.35%
  9. A64, 3.06%
  10. M4, 2.94% 

GoCompare also ranked the areas with the highest number of reported road incidents involving animals across the UK, with the South leading the way.

Top 15 areas with the MOST roadkill in the UK

RankTownNumber of animals hit by cars
1Thetford264
2Southampton259
3Hull256
4Winchester237
5Swindon237
6Stowmarket189
7Aylesbury Vale183
8Norwich176
9Perth170
10Cambridge169
11Caerphilly160
12Skegness159
13Blyth149
14Truro145
15Stroud138

July is by far the deadliest of the summer months. Out of the 14,649 reported deaths in a year, 3,519 of these occurred in July.

In total, the summer months see more animal road deaths compared to any other time of year.

July 6 was named the most tragic day on record for roadkill with a massive 329 casualties reported on this date alone.

At the opposite end of the scale, December saw the LEAST animal road casualties with 401 wildlife roadkill recorded over the festive period.

Months with the HIGHEST number of roadkill

RankDateRoadkill
1July3,519
2August2,046
3September1,404
4April1,238
5May1,209
6March1,061
7October1,032
8June890
9November691
10February476
11January412
12December401

“Hitting any animal can be a traumatic experience for any driver,” said Ryan Fulthorpe, car expert at GoCompare.

“Make sure you are aware of the rules to follow. Dogs and farm animals are legally required to be reported if they are involved in the collision, dead or injured.

“When driving, look out for road signs that alert you to areas with large animal populations and take extra care when driving at dawn and dusk, due to reduced visibility and wild animals (like deer) being more active during these times.

“Stay alert and change your speed accordingly. At night it is important you use your headlights in the correct way to increase the visibility of any wildlife on the road. Be extra vigilant on country roads.”

If you hit an animal, here’s Ryan’s five-step checklist summarising what drivers should do next:

  1. Try to stay calm and pull over safely to a safe place. Put your hazard lights on.
  2. Before leaving the vehicle, make sure everyone is okay and check for oncoming traffic or other dangers.
  3. If you have sustained damage make sure to contact the emergency services on 101, or your breakdown provider, depending on the extent of the damage.
  4. If you choose to help an injured animal, do so with extreme care, do not put yourself or others on the road at risk. Observe the animal, to assess how badly hurt it is. When approaching, be cautious of retaliation out of fear from the animal. Once you have reported it your legal duty is done, however, you can call the RSPCA emergency service for advice if you want to help the animal further.
  5. When it is safe to do so, tell your insurance provider if you do get into a collision, as they will need details to be able to cover the cost of any damage to your car.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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