More Squirrel Squashing Stories: Plus Skunks, Groundhogs, Snakes and Other Critters You’ve Run Over On Your Bike

Wow, it seems a lot of us and our bikes have squashed some critters. My recent post about riding over a squirrel, and what happened next, seems to have brought back a lot of painful memories. I heard from cyclists who’ve had a similar experience with a squirrel, or another kind of creature. And from plenty of people who were either for or against me bashing the poor thing over the head to put it out of its misery. What would you have done?

It was interesting and fun to read your comments. Thank you, here we go …

Phil Wever: Squirrels, nature’s little speed bumps

It’s hard to see in this tiny photo, but there’s a bear in the middle of the road up ahead

Ray Cook: I ran over a skunk with my bike. Tried to avoid it but it just went straight into the spokes of my front wheel. It survived relatively unharmed thanks to me slamming on the breaks before it got twisted up which is more than I can say for myself being covered with Skunk spray! God that crap stinks bad!!

Dustin Gavin: You didn’t do anything wrong but you didn’t do anything right to correct it….rather horrible story to share of your inability to have empathy and let that animal suffer through pain that your actions directly caused. It wasn’t good to just leave it alone when it was suffering a mortal wound. Suffocating would have been the best you could do or as other mention that time you did round trips could have taken it a vet to be put down with chemicals free I’m sure. 

Kevin Claypoole: Hit a ground hog on Thun Trail! Their natural instinct is to turn around and fight! Then the guy behind me ran over it! Not done it turned around again and my wife ran over it!

Tia Tyler: Chipmunk

TC Haluk Okur: You should have taken it to the nearest vet. Depending on its injuries, s/he could have saved it or put it to sleep. You’ve done the worst thing by letting the poor animal suffering for hours, if not days, until it died.

Thanks TC. And, this helps prove my theory that pretty much everything you encounter in life was covered by Seinfeld. Here’s the Youtube video about George and the injured squirrel. I wonder if my vet would have had the special, tiny tools.

Kieron Lettin: A rat ran into my front wheel …  took its head clean off and blood all down my frame and on my shoes. A squirrel did the same but manged to get inside my wheel between the spokes then flew out at high speed up in the air and disappeared.

Brian Schwind: I had [a squirrel] come running across the road, jump onto my foot and hang on while I kept pedaling during a MS City to Shore one year. I had to unclip and actually fling him off. The guys behind me had to swerve out of the way as he scampered away behind me. 

David Nagy: I was riding on a local rail-trail and a squirrel, under control of squirrel adrenaline, ran across the trail then started back, just barely hitting my front wheel but enough to get caught and thrown by inertia that I felt it brush by my left shoulder. It landed on it’s feet and ran away, leaving both of us stunned by what happened.

Joe Catizone: Squirrels are the worst! Especially this time of year here in the Northeast. They do what I call it the Death Dance. They run out from nowhere right I. Front of you then dart back and forth trying to decided which way to go! As if us road cyclists don’t have enough to watch out for! 

Alex Bice: When they’re scared they run back to where they’d been before. They always go for the known even if the unknown is actually safer. 

So, it turns out there’s a reason squirrels do the dance of death. And, it actually makes sense in a world without bikes and motorized vehicles…

David Bouk: “The zig-zag run does seem to function as a way to throw off hawks swooping in for a meal,” McRae says. In other words, for the 30-plus million years that tree squirrels have been around, this maneuver has helped them dodge birds of prey and other predators. It’s only recently (in the last 100 years or so) that autos have entered the picture. “This zig-zag run does absolutely nothing to throw off approaching vehicles,” McRae adds.

Here’s the podcast about this.

Joe Manos: One ride, I was one of four in a pace line, 3rd back. We’re cruising, probably 20mph when I hear the leader making the common noise he would to scare squirrels off the road. Next thing I see is one of three squirrels doing the zigzag they sometimes do…And on his last zag, he goes through my front wheel! Thump, thump, thump … to a stop! No endo, crash, didn’t even break a spoke. Just knocked the front wheel out of true. The carnage was pretty disgusting though. Down tube, water bottle, front of my jersey covered in squirrel blood, guts and hair. After assessing the situation in amazement, we rolled on. I was called the squirrel murderer for the rest of that ride and rides to come. 

Tom Sutter: I hit a squirrel while going 20 mph down a hill. It was frightening to me after I hit it and surprising all at the same time. I felt so bad that I went back and picked it up and moved it off the road so nobody else would hit it.

Dave Collins: I ran over a squirrel downhill skiing. Scary. I did not stop. 

Herm Greider: I realize it’s the damn squirrel’s fault, but you can’t leave the poor thing in pain. You even had a shovel. Take care of the problem. 

Chuck Kutchera: No, but I did have a groundhog run into me once. We both survived.

John Sadler: Two friends had squirrels get caught in the front spokes, wrap to the brake, and then stop, to the detriment of both squirrels and cyclists. Fortunately it was fatal to only the squirrels. 

Lisa Antolino: [After her cat fatally maimed a rabbit in the backyard] I grabbed a shovel reluctantly and moved the rabbit to the soft ground thinking I could easily bury it once I had broken its neck. With a quivering voice and tears in my eyes, I apologized to the bunny, raised the shovel and slammed down on the rabbit. He rolled over, fear in his eyes, pleading for his life. I had to strike it over and over, crying with every hit. Hurt me more than the rabbit. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Robert Kenyon: I’ve run over black snakes that sun themselves on trails. They look just like broken tree branches which can be plentiful in the fall. That thump-thump is awful. 

OK, there you go. Thanks for reading this, and reading all the way to the end.


Here’s the link to my Biking France books (Provence, Bordeaux, Normandy, the Loire and the Dordogne). I recently took all five off Amazon, iBooks and all the other eBook platforms because they took about 60 percent of the revenue. Now, thanks to even more tech advances, I can make them available as PDFs.

RIP Sparky

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