Do white-tail deer avoid red? An evaluation of the premise underlying the design of Swareflex wildlife reflectors

  • Published source details Zacks J.L. (1986) Do white-tail deer avoid red? An evaluation of the premise underlying the design of Swareflex wildlife reflectors. Transportation Research Record, 1075, 35-43.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Install wildlife warning reflectors along roads

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Install wildlife warning reflectors along roads

    A controlled study in 1984 of captive deer in Michigan, USA (Zacks 1986) found that reflectors, angled to deflect car headlight illumination into adjacent habitat, did not affect crossing rates of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus. There were no significant differences in crossing rates when the route was fitted with red reflectors (256 crossings), white reflectors (200 crossings) or no reflectors (264 crossings). Ten captive-born deer were housed in a 3.5-acre pen. Five posts were installed in a line at 66-foot intervals. A pair of car headlights was aimed alongside this line. Each night, one trial each was run using no reflectors, white reflectors and red reflectors. Reflectors were fastened 42 inches up posts. All treatment orders were replicated three times. Data were collected over 18 nights, between 20 August and 6 October 1984. Trials lasted 15 minutes. Water (to attract deer) was dispensed noisily, by remote control, at five and 10 minutes, first on one side of the post line, then the other. Water ran into containers with holes, which drained in 1.5 minutes. Crossings by deer were counted by observers in concealed positions.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

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