Roadkill Rage: Drivers Swerve to Hit Animals, Experiment Finds

Rubber Animals Roadkill

Which do you hate the most: turtles, snakes or tarantulas? NASA engineer Mark Rober conducted a tongue-in-cheek experiment to see which animals were more likely to end up as roadkill. He put rubber snakes, turtles and tarantulas on the shoulder of a road, as well as a leaf to serve as a control, and monitored the reactions of 1,000 passing cars. Rober found that six percent of drivers intentionally swerved to hit the animals, and most of them targeted the tarantula. The drivers largely avoided the turtle (although a few did swerve to hit it). Several drivers even got out to save the rubber creature.

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Nina Sen is a frequent contributor to Live Science’s Life’s Little Mysteries series: an exploration and explanation of our world’s phenomena, both natural and man-made. She also writes astronomy photo stories for Live Science's sister site