Cars can be dangerous to small creatures. Large creatures can be dangerous to cars. For that reason, we’ve developed a warning system for drivers: road signs with the silhouettes of animals which are known to inhabit the area.
In the United States, the most commonly seen examples are duck crossing signs (typically showing a mother duck and a trail of ducklings behind her) to inform drivers that vulnerable fluffy creatures are liable to wander into their path and deer crossing signs. The deer crossing signs show a deer in mid-leap… because that’s likely to be the last thing a driver sees before their windshield splinters and their hood or car door becomes nigh-irreparably damaged.
There are others, though. I’d suggest you guess which of the following weren’t real, except… they’re all real.
Turtle crossing – present throughout the U.S.. They’re not the most adept of creatures at getting out of the road, and may require some help from kindly motorists.
Kangaroo crossing – found in Australia, naturally, they give people a head’s up about bounding, huge-footed animals that may make Americans wish they just had a deer to deal with.
Llama crossing – found in some South American countries, this is less a warning that a llama may run in front of your car and more a warning that a bunch of them could be hanging out in the road ahead. It’d probably be more accurately termed a “llama loitering” sign.
Hedgehog crossing – seen in the UK, this sign could be taken as a warning for bicyclists and pedestrians about the spiky creatures, or as a request to drivers to avoid crushing them. Hedgehogs are often friendly and they eat a variety of bothersome insects.
Penguin crossing – this street sign is typically sold as a novelty item in zoo gift shops. They’re ready to adorn the bedroom wall of any teenaged or pre-teen penguin lover. In New Zealand, though, they’re no joke; due to penguins being killed while crossing roads on the southernmost island, penguin crossing signs have been erected to inform drivers to be aware.
Sled crossing – Found in Greenland, this is to alert drivers to the existence of the one animal with which they’re most familiar: man. They’re erected at places where sled routes cross roads. In Alaska, you’d be worried about moose crossings, but in Greenland they’re more concerned with getting past the poor civil engineering that arranged for sled paths and roadways to intersect.
Question of the night: What’s a strange sight you’ve encountered while driving?