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Wednesday, 20 February 2019 07:54

Spring is approaching on the road

Even if the nights are still cold and there is still snow in the mountain regions, one notices how the temperatures slowly rise and the life in nature awakes again. The leaf buds on bushes and trees become thicker and thicker and prepare for sprouting. These are the first signs of early spring, which we use to prepare for the coming season. As the temperatures rise, the vertebrates wake up from their hibernation and become active again.

For example, squirrels are often seen chasing each other to prepare for mating. During these playful hunts the animals unfortunately frequently overlook moving cars on the streets. So please pay more attention to the animals on the roads again - also in residential areas with speed limits below 30km/h.

The nature protection associations, like our partners the Naturschutzbund in Lower Austria or the ARGE Naturschutz, are already in the middle of the preparations to install amphibian fences on roads. You can find more information about amphibian migration, which is only a few weeks away, here (in German). The Naturschutzbund in Lower Austria uses (among others) the data from our project, to find out where more protective measures for amphibians are needed in Lower Austria.

As you can see, more animals will soon be seen on the roads again. If you discover any animals that have been road-killed, please report them to us as reliably as you have done in recent years. However, please always pay attention to your own safety and never use your smartphone in dangerous situations.

We would like to thank you very much for this!

The vision of the Roadkill project is to mitigate road sections where there is a high number of road-killed animals together with nature conservation organisations and authorities. One basis for this is the data on roadkilled animals, which participants in the project report daily via an online form or app; the second basis is partnerships with NGOs and authorities.

We have now taken a concrete first step towards such a partnership. The data collected in the Roadkill project will now be checked by the Naturschutzbund of Lower Austria for roadkill hotspots of certain species in order to evaluate the establishment of conservation measures. The Naturschutzbund Niederösterreich already manages a number of amphibian fences along roads and is also actively protecting habitats of endangered mammals, such as the European hamster, the distribution of which is still relatively unknown in Lower Austria.

We are very pleased about the cooperation with the Naturschutzbund Niederösterreich and hope that many more cooperations will follow.

Logo NaturschutzbundNO

We have great reason to be happy! The project Roadkill was nominated for the Austrian federal animal protection award!

"The Federal Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection awards the Federal Animal Protection Award for the fifth time this year. This award was launched in order to publicly honour people who have made a special contribution to the welfare of animals through their great commitment. The submitted projects will be judged by an expert, top-class jury." Translated excerpt from the BMSGK website.

Among numerous submissions 6 projects were nominated, which are invited to the big award ceremony on 11 December 2018. At this evening event, three of the nominated projects will be awarded the Austrian Federal Animal Protection Award 2018. Of course we are already very curious.

Here you will find an excerpt from our application on the animal protection relevance of the project:

Wie in den Ergebnissen beschrieben, finden sich in unserer Datenbank neben hunderten geschützten Tieren auch >1000 Igel, >300 Eichhörnchen und >200 Katzen, die bisher nie in offizielle Statistiken erfasst wurden und so auch nicht im öffentlichen Bewusstsein stehen. Alleine diese Überblickszahlen zeigen, dass hier großer Handlungs- und Aufklärungsbedarf besteht. Das Projekt Roadkill geht hier den ersten Schritt in Österreich um auf dieses nationale Tier- und Naturschutzproblem hinzuweisen. Wir schaffen im Projekt Roadkill nicht nur Bewusstsein für ein nationales Problem im Tier- und Artenschutz, sondern handeln auch, in dem wir über eine wissenschaftliche Herangehensweise Lösungen erarbeiten welche aktiv zum Bundestierschutz beitragen.

So weist §1 des Bundestierschutzgesetzes als Ziel den „Schutz des Lebens und des Wohlbefindens der Tiere aus der besonderen Verantwortung des Menschen für das Tier als Mitgeschöpf“ aus. Auch wir sehen diesen Schutz des Lebens der Tiere in unserer Verantwortung in dem wir mit wissenschaftlicher Herangehensweise die Grundlagen für die Steigerung der Sicherheit von Tieren auf der Straße schaffen und so zum Schutz des Lebens beitragen können. Wir denken, dass uns dies durch die hervorragende Kombination aus wissenschaftlicher Arbeit und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit möglich ist, welche in eine enge Kooperation auf Augenhöhe zwischen Wissenschaft und Bevölkerung mündet. Die so gesammelten Daten können direkt für die Erforschung der Reduktion von im Straßenverkehr getöteten Tieren verwendet werden.

§ 2 des Bundestierschutzgesetzes beinhaltet die Passage, dass „das Verständnis der Öffentlichkeit und insbesondere der Jugend für den Tierschutz zu wecken und zu vertiefen“ eine Verpflichtung des Bundes, der Länder und der Gemeinden sei. Das Projekt wird zwar nicht durch diese geleitet, wir sehen uns aber dennoch in der Lage zu diesem Verständnis beizutragen. So tragen wir mit unserer Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und der intensiven Zusammenarbeit mit der Bevölkerung dazu bei, für das Thema Roadkill und die Problematik des Einflusses von Straßen auf Tiere ein erhöhtes Bewusstsein zu schaffen. Durch unsere vielfältigen Kommunikationskanäle, ist es uns möglich eine breite Öffentlichkeitswirksamkeit zu erzielen und so das Verständnis für den Tierschutz in diesem Bereich bei unterschiedlichen Bevölkerungsgruppen zu wecken.

Wir sind besonders stolz, dass der Natur- und Tierschutzgedanke des Projekts auch von der Universität für Bodenkultur anerkannt wurde, indem wir 2017 für das Projekt den BOKU Nachhaltigkeitspreis in der Kategorie „Austausch mit der Gesellschaft“ bekommen haben.

Friday, 31 August 2018 08:05


The correct identification of roadkilled animal species is often a real challenge. Sometimes only traces of the animal are preserved or the animal is already so destroyed that a correct identification of the species is hardly possible anymore.

Our profiles of the most frequently reported animal species are a help here.

But not only a mix-up of animal species often happens in the project Roadkill, but also the mix-up of roadkilled animals and objects. So it has already happened to us that a snake on the street suddenly turned out to be a piece of hose, or we stopped to report a mammal, just to realize that it was a lost brown wool sweater.

On this page we want to collect the most frequent mix-ups of animals and objects that have been roadkilled in order to sharpen our eyes for roadkills even more.

If you have already seen objects in front of the camera lens that look like the roadkilled animals from a distance, please send us photos of them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hedgehog vs. manure

Seen from a distance, it is not clear enough whether it is an animal. But if you look closer, you can see that the hedgehog's alleged spines were only the straw in the manure.

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Frog vs. fallen fruit

Here, too, you can hardly see what it is about from a distance. Roadkilled frogs such as the common toad or the green toad are often severely destroyed or already dried out and difficult to determine. A confusion in autumn with fallen fruit such as an apple cannot therefore be ruled out from a distance and can only be avoided on closer inspection.

Another example in the photo gallery is the possibility of confusing a dried banana peel with a frog in rainy weather. Many thanks to our participant DiDoDa for this hint and the photos.

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Snake vs. hose

If you are travelling by car or bicycle, you can hardly tell a hose or bent branch on the road from a snake. But when you get closer, you can quickly see whether it is one of these protected animals or just a lost piece of hose or a fallen branch. If it is a hose, we would be grateful if you could take it with you and dispose it professionally to avoid garbage in nature.

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Small mammal vs. cones

Another example comes from our participant DiDoDa, who observed this interesting confusion of a cone with a small mammal. Viewed from a distance, there may be some confusion, as the brown colour and size may indicate a small mammal.

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Crow vs. plastic fleece

It is often almost impossible to tell the difference between rubbish and roadkilled animals when sitting in a moving car. In the photos, for example, the black plastic fleece or the plastic foil really looks like a crow from a distance. The first impressive example comes from our participant DiDoDa, the second from Mamabird. If it really is plastic, we would be grateful if you could take it with you and to dispose of it professionally in order to avoid waste in nature.

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Blackbird vs. dirt

This somewhat unusual possibility of confusion was sent to us by our participant Mamabird. Here blackbirds seem to lie next to the sidewalk from a distance, but if you get closer you can see that the dirt has fallen off tractor tyres (loamy soil in the tyre profile).

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Bird vs. glove

Really confusingly alike in these photos are an old working glove made of leather and a dove. Our participant DiDoDa stopped with the car to enter an alleged pigeon into the database, only to find an old glove on the road.

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Frog vs. caterpillar

These mix-ups happen again and again: larger invertebrates look like vertebrates from a distance. In this case our participant DiDoDa reported the confusion of a frog with the caterpillar of a (presumably) Hyles galii.

Please click on photos to enlarge them:

View the embedded image gallery online at:

We need your help!

Again and again we hear from new participants in the project that it is often very difficult to determine the found animals accurately. Now there are also very experienced participants in the project, who help to identify the animals with comments under the entries. At this point a big thank you for that.

We would like to summarize and publish this great knowledge about roadkilled animals in Austria, which has been collected over the years in the project, in a handy pocketbook (or which format is suitable for our participants), so that it is even easier to get into the project.

Since we do most of the Roadkill project in our free time, we have to help each other. We have therefore decided to declare a challenge as part of the European Researchers Night:
How can you participate? What is the goal of the challenge?

The goal of our challenge is to create a handy pocket guide for easy identification of the most frequently roadkilled animals. This should make it easier for newcomers to enter the project.
We are looking for people who can help us with the following tasks:

  • Creation of the texts.
  • Provision of photographic material.
  • Graphical preparation of the guide.
  • Help in preparation for printing.
  • Performing the printing.

Anyone who can help us with any of these tasks is very welcome and can contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The cooperation will be carried out through workshops in Vienna, but also online, so that participation from all over Austria will be possible.

The challenge must be completed by September 28, 2018 in order to present the results at the European Researchers Night in Vienna.

We are looking forward to your help, because it won't work without it!


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Tuesday, 10 July 2018 07:48

The Hedgehog

Since 2018 Irene Hoppe has been writing her master thesis in the project Roadkill to road-killed hedgehogs in Vienna. Today she gives us an insight into her fascinating research object, the hedgehog.

With their unmistakable appearance, hedgehogs (Erinaceidae) probably belong to the best known mammalian family. Probably everyone has already experienced how the animals curl up to protect themselves and present their spines when danger is imminent. In the old world (Europe, Africa and Asia) hedgehogs are widespread. There are several species of hedgehogs. There are two species in Austria: the Northern White-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) and the Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). The brown-breasted hedgehog is classified by the Federal Environment Agency as "potentially endangered" in the Red List of endangered species of Austria (status 2005).

Hedgehogs belong to the Insectivora order and are therefore closely related to moles and shrews. In addition to beetles, caterpillars and earthworms, snails are at the top of the menu. So they are often observed in gardens and parks, when they are looking for food there. However, this usually happens in the twilight-time and night, since they are predominantly night-active creatures. In winter, from about October to March, hedgehogs are rarely seen, as they usually hibernate. The length of hibernation varies depending on various factors, such as climatic conditions, the hedgehog's physical condition and sex. Hedgehogs live solitary and in solid territories, which can also overlap. The preferred habitat is small-scale, varied, i.e. structurally rich, areas where the animals find both food and hiding places. This includes landscapes with bushes and trees, fallow land with hedges, species-rich rough meadows as well as gardens and parks. Intensively used agricultural areas as well as coniferous wood monocultures do not offer this possibility, so that they often live in the outskirts of villages and towns. Hedgehogs are particularly at risk on the roads. They are among the most frequent mammalian road victims. So far 1000 hedgehogs have been reported via Roadkill, in Austria alone more than 800. That is about one fifth of all reported animals! Particularly for local isolated hedgehog populations, roads can strongly impair the survival probability, as in addition to mortality, genetic exchange between populations is hampered. Most of the hedgehogs that were road-killed were reported in the month of May. At this time hedgehogs are in the middle of their mating season and therefore cover longer distances. Slower and more careful driving, especially at dusk and at night during this time, can reduce hedgehog roadkill.


Irene Hoppe is Master-student at the Institute of Zoology at the UNiversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and studies "Wildlife ecology and wildlife managament".


Monday, 09 April 2018 07:59

Biodiversity in project Roadkill

Our overall vision in the Roadkill project is to reduce the number of animals that are road-killed. To this end, we would first like to provide an overview of which animal species are affected by roadkill at all. A first look into our database shows us an incredible variety of animals, which were reported by our participants.

Among the mammals we find over 1000 hedgehogs, 298 squirrels, 65 raccoons or 42 squirrels. Also very exotic species like maned wolves in Paraguay, an elk in Canada, possums in the USA, a macaque in Malaysia or kangaroos in Australia have already been reported to us.

For amphibians, where all species are protected in Austria, 333 green toads, 159 crested newts or 7 alpine salamanders have already been registered in our database. In the graph you can also see that 633 animals were registered as "Other amphibians", this shows that amphibians are particularly difficult to identify when they are road-killed. So also some not more exactly determinable frogs with photo from Thailand were reported to us. Maybe there is an expert among the readers who can identify them.

Among the reptiles, 13 Aesculapian snakes or 9 Smooth snakes have been reported to us so far. Since 34 lizards and 20 snakes could not be determined more closely, one sees also here the challenge to be able to identify road-killed vertebrates exactly. Also among the reptiles, unfortunately very exciting animals have been reported to us, such as a adder from Greece, or snakes from India or the USA, which were not specified in detail. Also here we would be pleased about a help with the identification. Have a look at our world map and click your way through the spots, it is really exciting! If you notice something special, you are welcomed to to comment, like or share the spot.

Since birds are extremely difficult to determine when they have been road-killd, we have already consciously decided here before only for a rough classification. However, since more than 1000 animals have already been registered here, we would like to introduce a more precise determination here. If you would like to help us here, please write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Biodiv. Statistik 2018

These figures clearly show how important our project is. Preserving biodiversity is not only an academic challenge, but has also been recognised by the UN as an extremely important global goal and has been included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In any case, we would like to continue the project and work with you to make the roads safer for people and animals. Many thanks to all who report their findings to us every day!

Friday, 23 March 2018 06:43

Collaboration with Arge NATURSCHUTZ

We are very pleased to present a new cooperation in the project. The non-profit nature conservation association Arge NATURSCHUTZ has agreed to work more closely with us on the Roadkill project. According to the association's website, the most important tasks of this association include the research of endangered plants and animals of wild species, their communities and their natural bases of life, special species and biotope management as well as targeted education and information work in the field of nature conservation.

We see this as a perfect complement to our work in the project, as the Arge NATURSCHUTZ also carries out practical nature conservation measures. A successful example of this is the "Save the Frogs" campaign in which the NATURSCHUTZ consortium coordinates the management of 183 amphibian migration routes in Carinthia.

We are looking forward to future cooperation and mutual enrichment!

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