Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Dead Raccoon Bridge

What kind of arsehole can purposefully run over another living creature?
They exist. I've seen it once with my own eyes. A few years ago I saw a pick-up truck swerve over on the shoulder to crush a snapping turtle that was laying eggs in the gravel. Then the truck stopped, backed over the writhing turtle, then ran over her again.
A lot of folks around here don't like snapping turtles. I don't particularly like snapping turtles. But not liking something is no reason to take a life. Just talking about this ticks me off.
Well, something similar happened on Saturday night.
We live beside the Muskoka River (thus the title) and, to get here, we have to cross a delightful, one-lane, black iron bridge. I adore the bridge. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with this place. The bridge is just wide enough for one vehicle. Normal-sized snowplows, for example, cannot cross the bridge. Because of the narrow width, car headlights illuminate the entire bridge when you're crossing it at night. What makes it even brighter is the safety rails at the sides – headlights reflect back on the roadway.
What I'm trying to say is, even the worst headlights, the lowest beams, the dirtiest lenses, light up the bridge like it's daytime.
Another point to consider: you have to slow down when you cross the bridge. There's a sharp curve on both ends leading up to it.
So that's the scenario.
Coming home from a movie Saturday night, we saw a dead raccoon in the middle of the bridge.
There was no way this could have been an accident. Anyone coming across the bridge and seeing the raccoon would just have to wait a few moments for the critter to walk away. It's not like a deer, jumping out in front of you when you're going 50 miles an hour down a highway. You can see. You're going slow. What the hell? Just stop and let Rocky go on his merry way.
Dave, being the wonderful person he is, didn't want to see the raccoon squished any worse than he already was. He got a rag out of the back of the Jeep and carried Rocky over into the bushes. The image of entrails dragging behind is something I wish I could forget.
"I wish I knew who did this," Dave said. "I'd drop the dead raccoon at their front door."
Flash forward to Monday night. Dave and I went for our first canoe ride of the season. (It was fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.)
As we approached the bridge we couldn't help but notice a giant turkey vulture sitting on top of a road sign. He had probably just had a nice meal of dead raccoon.
At least somebody benefited from the incident.
Top photo: the turkey vulture. He'd be licking his lips, y'know, if he had lips.
Middle: View of the black bridge from the front of our canoe.
Bottom: Dave, the raccoon remover.
For biggie-size photos, click or double click on the pix.


  1. I always feel so badly for the little critters you find on the road. They may be pests but no one should have to die that way. We have a problem with squirrels where we live...we are swamped with them. I am forever swerving or stopping suddenly (traffic permitting) to save a life. Unfortunately, they have a strange habit of "doubling back" once they are clear of the car. I have, sadly, hit a couple of them on the "swing back".

  2. I don't understand why people are like that. It makes me sick.

  3. Hi Cathy! Thanks for coming by my blog and venting! I loved it, it was hilarious! So cool that you're from Bracebridge. Lived in Pet. but summered in Wasaga Beach, so drove through Bracebridge. It's beautiful country!

  4. That is awful! I couldn't imagine ever doing something so cruel. I'm always checking for wildlife as I drive. Once a bird flew into the front of my car. It was horrible. ((shudder)) That was wonderful of Dave to move the little guy.

  5. I too have seen turtles purposely run over, and not just snappers. It's disgusting. Eloquent vent!

  6. I have stopped to do a little turtle relocation when I see they are trying to cross an expanse of road they don't stand a chance on. I can't understand what would prompt someone to do such a thing. Nice canoe!


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