Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Road Trips and Rarely Seen Animals

Over the course of the last nine days, I have driven over 2800 miles. Well, I was probably not driving for 400 of those. Anyways, I have spent a lot of time on the freeways of the western United States. The funny thing about driving is that you get the chance to encounter an animal that you rarely do elsewhere: the skunk.

Why is it that I have never seen a skunk alive? How come you inevitably smell one every few hours of a road trip. Here is what wikipedia has to say about the subject:

"Although they have excellent senses of smell and hearing—vital attributes in a crepuscular omnivore—they have poor vision. They cannot see objects more than about 3 metres (10 ft) away with any clarity, which makes them vulnerable to road traffic. Roughly half of all skunk deaths are caused by humans, as roadkill, or as a result of shooting and poisoning. They are short-lived animals: fewer than 10% survive for longer than three year."

I guess we can blame it on bad eyes then.
I suppose you could also put rabbits into this category of random animal highway spottings, or the coyote that I almost hit Sunday night. Maybe on day I'll be lucky enough to see one of these without the worry of smashing it all over the road.


Bridget "Fun" Lynott said...

You just had the most exciting weekend ever and all you can write about is a skunk? Really?

RC said...

And a dead skunk at that!! Not one word of a "possum on the half shell"? I KNOW you saw some while in the great nation of Texas....