Warning Sign/Wild Animals
|The modern Wildfowl sign|
|TSRGD ref :||551 / 551.1 / 551.2|
|Variants :||Stag, Toad, Duck|
|Common Plates :||(for) x yds / miles|
The Wild Animals sign seems to have been a creation of the Worboys Report in 1964. At first, the only permissable variant was the running Stag, but since then a number of other official, and unofficial sign designs have sprouted up around the country, warning of all manner of wild creatures!
At the present moment in time, no specific Pre-Worboys sign for Wild Animals has been identified. As with so many of the early sign designs, it is likely that a wordy plate was used at a number of sites around the country, mounted underneath a red triangle warning sign. The only survivor so far discovered is the 'Stray Animals' sign pictured on the left which is in Kinloch Rannoch in Highland Perthshire.
Worboys Report sign
The original 'Wild Animals' warning sign was the running stag, but in recent years a couple of additional signs have been designed, and a whole host of unofficial designs have made their way onto lamp posts and sign posts around the country.
Following the Worboys Report, Warning Signs generally gained symbols within the red triangles. With no specific Pre-Worboys sign for wild animals, a new symbol was needed, and the one chosen was the now familiar running stag (diagram 551). This sign has become common in the Scottish Highlands and other wild areas such as Exmoor, but has also been criticized for making drivers look out for deer specifically rather than wild animals in general. As a result some alternative signs have been designed, see below.
In 2009 some trunks roads in Scotland, including the A82 across Rannoch Moor, A87 and A835, had a number of Vehicle activated signs installed warning of wild animals, with the deer symbol in use as the wild animals in question are almost certainly deer! This road has a high number of incidents, particularly on winter nights, involving deer which often come down to the roadside for warmth and nourishment, unintended byproducts of traffic and salting a road.
The image of a duck (diagram 551.2) (top right) is now fairly common around the country, but was originally designed to warn drivers that something a touch smaller than a stag might be in the road! A number of farms around the country have home-made variants where a chicken silhouette replaces the duck.
The Toad symbol (diagram 551.1) was created after an outcry in various parts of the country about the mass-squishing of migratory Toads on roads. In some places special pipes were laid under the roads to take the toads, who often migrate at night, while in others a sign on the roadside was deemed sufficient. Whether many drivers slow for the imminent danger of dirtying their tyres is unclear.
Red squirrels and others
At present, there are not any prescribed symbols for other animals, such as red squirrel, and these should be warned of using the other danger sign with a plate detailing the nature of the hazard, however there are a number of designs in existence around the country, primarily north and west Scotland which are the main survival grounds of this increasingly endangered species. Some signs have the traditional black silhouette within the red triangle, in this case showing the bushy tail so reminiscent of Squirrels, others such as the one on the left near Lochgoilhead go for a more endearing design!
As can be seen in the gallery, signs warning of Otters have also been made, and there are certainly other birds, mammals and amphibians on unofficial signs up and down the country.
As of June 2019, a new Hedgehog sign is being trialed, which is to be used for smaller mammals due to the lack of warning signs for animals between frogs and deer.
Republic of Ireland
The Irish warning sign for wild animals has the silhouette of a deer in the yellow warning diamond, although the deer is leaping rather than running as in the UK sign.