The following is an excerpt from the BEGINNERS ROADKILL IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
(from INTERVALS – Frederick (MD) Steeplechasers Running Club Newsletter, May ’95).
The following are some helpful hints for assisting the new runner in identifying commonly
encountered small roadkill:
Squirrel: Small in size (25cm), grey fur is most common. Usually the telltale bushy tail
remains for quick identification. Most common in the fall.
Opossum: The thin pink wormlike tail is a giveaway in identifying this common roadkill.
The snarling white teeth become visible after a few days. Family groups not uncommon.
Groundhog: Probably the most common roadkill. Dark brown fur with black feet, remains
tend to retain their rotund shape longer than other roadkill forms due to bulk. Often seen in
bloated form with feet in air.
Rabbits: Sometimes difficult to identify but white tail fur and long ears may be visible within
Frogs: Rarely seen; remains disappear quickly as are composed mostly of water. Leaves
leathery shell. Usually seen by slower runners because of small size.
Turtles: round or oval in silhouette sometimes with feet visible at corners. Tend to change
shape little in compression.
Snakes: Long and thin, though frequently may be in several segments. Paper-like skin which
remains after a few days may be recycled into shoes and purses by more enterprising runners.
Skunk: Easy to identify due to telltale black fur with contrasting white stripe and distinct
olfactory signature. Presence can usually be identified long before actually being seen.
For more information consult the “North American Roadkill Identification Guide” available
at your local library or specialty bookstore.
Note: If you are travelling across the country you may wish to contact the local tourism council
for a list of wildlife indigenous to that part of the country. Identifying local roadkill may bring
some added enjoyment to your running vacation. Coming upon your first road-killed armadillo
or alligator is an experience to be treasured.
One of the spectators at last Saturday's marathon brought her baby with her. I don't suppose that is so unusual these days, all bundled up in a stroller. She parked the stroller and picked the baby up and carried over to the finish area.
Now again, this was not so unusual, except for one thing. This baby was markedly, hideously, repulsive to look at. The youngster was so ugly that the spectators could not help but to stare, even though it was painful on the eyes. Nevertheless, the young mother was proud of her offspring, and eagerly waited at the chutes for her marathoning spouse to show up.
As we were standing there, one of the early runners finished the marathon in an obvious state of distress. He crossed the finish line, slumped over, and recovered for a minute, then made his way to the end of the chute to get his medal.
About halfway down his sweat-encrusted eyes fell on the hapless child. I know that we have all observed that people can be very blunt at the end of a marathon, but that's really no excuse for poor behavior. Anyway, he blurted out, "Lady, that kid is ugly, I mean ugly in C A P I T A L letters, let me spell that - YUUU GEEE ELLL WYYE!"
Then he bent over at the knees and vomited right there in the chutes.
The poor mother was beside herself. She threw a fit of hysteria, yelling and screaming, and the race director came running over.
"What's the matter?" he inquired, "What can we do for you?"
"I have never encountered such despicable people in my life as these runners," she yelled, "I can't believe I was abused and mistreated like this at your race. I am contacting my lawyer as soon as I get home. You people are all terrible and ought to be ashamed!"
Well, Chris didn't really know what to do, so he decided to try and calm her down. "Here, here," he said, "Don't let an isolated incident spoil such a beautiful day. Here, come with me."
So he took her over to the V.I.P. stand right at the finish, and gave her a nice seat. He wrapped a soft blanket over her shoulders, and asked, "Isn't this better?"
"I guess," she sobbed, "but could I get something hot to drink."
"Oh sure, we can do that for you," replied Chris, then he picked up the megaphone and yelled across the crowd to the refreshment table at the end of the chutes.
"HEY JOHN, WOULD YOU BRING THIS LADY A CUP OF HOT COFFEE? AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, GET A BANANA FOR HER MONKEY!"