The Ten Strangest Animal-Automobile Interactions

One of the most present ways that humans encroach on animal territory is with roads and cars. Animals often have incredibly strange adaptations to these four-wheeled interlopers, as Jalopnik readers have discovered.

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Photo Credit: Richard Scroggs

10.) Moose carwash

Suggested By: My X-type is too a real Jaguar

Why it's bizarre: While deer are known for going out onto roads in winter to lick up the salt, here's a moose licking it off a parked car. Basically, the car is working for the moose as a very large salt-delivery system.

9.) Sea lions on cop cars

Suggested By: skibumperspective

Why it's bizarre: When protected animals wander towards the road, it's the government's job to protect them from traffic. Sometimes this ends very poorly for the police involved, as skibumperspective explains.

I do volunteer work for a sea lion and seal rescue group in northern California, and almost any time there is a disorientated sea lion, he will wander along a road (because roads are warm, and sea lions like warm things). Cops close the road, stop near the car, and go back to set up flares on the road. Black cop car hoods/trunks are warmer and therefore better places. Invariably, the well-meaning police-man returns to his car, bewildered at the scene, and now, legally, can't approach his own car. (Marine Mammal Protection Act, ftw.)

The best was 'Fruitvale', a juvenile male cal sea lion that stranded on 880 in East Oakland (Fruitvale district) a few years back. The police well-meaning or foolishly lured the little dude into the back seat of their car, where he proceeded to relieve himself, everywhere.
Think Jackson Pollack with a brown shotgun.

Photo Credit: Sequoia Hughes

The Ten Strangest Animal-Automobile Interactions

8.) Six baby squirrels ride the racetrack

Suggested By: Trochoid Moon

Why it's bizarre:The driver of a BMW Z4 M Coupe was complaining of diminished power after two driver training track sessions at Watkins Glen racetrack in New York. It turns out six baby squirrels were living in his airbox. They'd gotten into his car up in Toronto. Somehow the guy only figured out there were squirrels living in his car after a couple hundred miles and two track sessions. The squirrels were perfectly okay.

Photo Credit: Team Flying Squirrels

7.) Dog tears apart cop car

Suggested By: Guacamole ole ole ole

Why it's bizarre: Dogs aren't wild animals, but it's clear that they don't understand things the same way as we humans do. For instance, a dog's definition of ‘things that I should tear apart with my mouth' is significantly broader than that of a human, as we can see in this video.

6.) Car hawking

Suggested By: airsix73 one horn power slide flying purple beater bimmer

Why it's bizarre: Falconry: the sport of kings! It's one of the oldest sports ever devised, and here is gets a modern twist. Birds can see a predatory hawk from a great distance and will fly away. Birds, however, do not see cars as a threat and will hang around near roads. Simply keep your trained hawk in the car and launch it out at birds for an easy kill. Sure it's not very sporting, but the hawk does get lots of rewards.

5.) Cat riding the bus

Suggested By: The English Guy

Why it's bizarre: Old cats are often tired, lazy creatures. One in southern England figured out how to get far distances without having to slave the whole way on foot. It learned how to ride the bus.

Please excuse the seriously Veronica Corningstone-esque video, but it's worth it to see this adaptation to an urban environment.

The Ten Strangest Animal-Automobile Interactions

4.) Pigeons riding the subway

Suggested By: The English Guy

Why it's bizarre: Last year in Stockholm, a flock of pigeons had learned how to take the subway one stop to their favorite feeding ground rather than fly there in the winter. There were no passenger complaints and the birds were completely orderly, calm, quiet, and respectful both in the station and in the train.

Photo Credit: DeWitt Clinton

3.) Japanese crows use traffic to break nuts

Suggested By: Harbux

Why it's bizarre: Crows and all corvidae are remarkably clever birds. Here we see a Japanese crow that has figured out not only how to use cars as a tool for breaking nuts, but how to follow traffic signals to avoid getting run over.

The Ten Strangest Animal-Automobile Interactions

2.) Yellow sac spiders living in the Mazda 6

Suggested By: zacarious

Why it's bizarre: Mazda had to recall 52,000 2009-2010 Mazda 6s due to yellow sac spiders weaving a web in the evaporative canister vent line. The spider was attracted to the gasoline vapors and would live in there, causing all kinds of fuel pressure problems. Owners had to get little mesh screens installed to keep the spiders out.

Photo Credit: Dann Thombs

The Ten Strangest Animal-Automobile Interactions

1.) Silkworms silk bomb a car

Suggested By: Jackie

Why it's bizarre: The Spindle Ermine is known to weave silk around trees to protect themselves from wasps and birds for six weeks as they eat and then pupate from caterpillars into moths. In Rotterdam in 2009, a mess of these things wrapped up a Honda Civic, not really caring that the owner would have to use the car.

Simply backing out and cleaning the thing is all you have to do in the case that your car is silk-bombed.

Photo Credit: De Telegraaf