Severed Chicken Head Experiment Shows We’re Underestimating How Many Animals Are Killed by Cars

The shocking experience of hitting a deer on the road is occasionally followed by something you might find even stranger—passing pickup truck drivers asking if they can keep the corpse.

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that non-human scavengers pick up roadkill, too. Researchers in the United Kingdom who study these critters think that their roadside eating habits have led humans to seriously underestimate how many animals are killed by cars.

“Roadkill disappears very quickly,” Sarah Perkins, study author from Cardiff University in Wales, told Gizmodo. “Our actual estimate of the number of animals killed on the road is much higher than before.”

The researchers set up camera traps in the city of Cardiff, with chicken heads to serve as the faux-roadkill bait. Animals removed three quarters of the chicken heads within the 12 hours. But if the heads were placed on the road at 9 a.m., 60 percent of the heads were gone within two hours. Given this data, the researchers think that the actual…

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