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Lime cuts smell of road kill

Since you asked

I have seen, many times in the past, dead animals alongside the road. It might be a deer or a skunk or even a possum. Why do they cover them with that white powder to get them to decay faster? Why don't they give them to places like Wildlife Images, or just leave them alone so other wild animals can eat them?

' Nanette P., Gold Hill

That white powder you see on carcasses is lime, which is used as a last resort for helping reduce the smell of a rotting animal.

In fact, the Oregon State Police have a statewide procedure for dealing with road-kill animals, and the agency's Fish and Wildlife officers are cross-trained as meat inspectors to carry it out.

When an officer is called to a fresh kill, he first checks to see if it is fit for human consumption, but they rarely are, says OSP Lt. Steve Ross. Then the officer typically contacts Wildlife Images.

If the rehab center cannot pick up the anima, then the officer contacts highway department crews, which generally collect the carcasses and dispose of them at a nearby landfill.

Those far enough off the road that they do not create a hazard sometimes are coated with lime to cut the stench.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to