Animals can’t talk, deer can’t read and trees are only here to enhance human life.

Most of us have seen those animal crossing signs that speckle the roads around the U.S. and up until now I thought that it went without saying that the signs are for human benefit, not for the animals themselves. Now that I know there are people that think deer crossing signs are to designate where deer are allowed to cross the roads, I wonder how many people think that “Shark Zone” signs at the beach are for sharks to know where they are allowed to swim!

Kathleen O’Brien Wilhelm from the Avon-Avon Lake Patch in Ohio writes in her Animals Can’t Talk article that

“Signs that read “Deer Crossing” and the like are going to continue to pop up throughout our country including Avon Lake, but who are these signs for? Deer cannot read, do not obey the law and probably will cross where they wish.”

And that

“…Signs are important– to humans; “Stop” signs, and others are more than just costly decorations  scattered along  the roadways.”

She definitely got one thing right: deer cannot read and will cross the road wherever they wish. But, we already knew that – right? Most of us do, anyway. I wonder if she seriously thought she was the only person that could tell that deer are unable to read. How would she rationalize that we are aware that dragonfly nymphs move around by propelling water out of their anus but we haven’t figured out that deer can’t read?

To further emphasize her point that animals are too dumb to read and are only here to make our lives better, Wilhelm also writes that

“Dogs, cats, whales, seals and deer are animals that might enhance a human’s life, but all cannot read, write or think. They are animals…They are on this earth like trees to make humans’ lives better.”

I’m not sure where she got the idea that animals and trees are here to make our lives better or how she decided that only animals and trees are even allowed to do so, but the real icing on the cake is when she says

“Somewhere the advancement of society has been limited by animals and the unscientific malarkey of loons.”

Somehow it’s not so surprising that she referred to the government as “loons” and to their deer crossing signs as “unscientific malarkey” when she’s (almost) the only one who believes that everyone else is trying to get deer to obey crossing signs. After being asked if she knows the signs are actually for humans she tells the Avon-Avon Lake Patch that,

“Yes, I know the signs are for humans, but provide false hope to where the animals elect to go and another example of government wasting taxpayer’s money on these signs.”

Besides, nowadays the deer can just look online to find out where they’re allowed to cross. I encourage you to browse through some of her other articles, you won’t be disappointed.

Alright, I mentioned a couple of times that Kathleen Wilhelm isn’t the only person to think that some road signs are for animals to read. Turns out, a lady named Donna phoned into the Y94 Playhouse in Fargo, North Dakota with the very same issue! She begins by mentioning that she has already written to the newspaper and local TV station with her concerns and no one has replied so she is trying this radio station. She is concerned that we are instructing deer to cross busy intersections and that it would be smarter to have them cross at school zones instead.

“…The deer crossing sign is there to allow the deer to know that’s where they need to cross…”

“…They can direct the deer population anywhere they want to by moving that deer crossing sign…”

“…It is so irresponsible for us to allow these deer crossing signs in a place where the deer is so likely to be struck by oncoming traffic…”

“…I try to watch out for the deer but going 65 how am I supposed to…I mean, you can’t break really quickly when the deer is trying to cross in the deer crossing area.”

It’s pretty obvious that during her entire rant the hosts of the show are doing everything that they can to hold their laughter. They even ask her if she’s kidding and she seems not to even notice. They try to tell her that the signs are for humans but she keeps insisting that all we have to do is move them to a school zone so the deer can cross in a place with less traffic. These guys call her back and she thanks them for not humiliating her on-air and says she feels like an idiot for not realizing the signs weren’t for deer and even blames her ignorance on being raised in a sheltered, country town.

Whatever the real reason is that these ladies both thought it necessary to publicly rant about a non-issue, it’s definitely hilarious to see how embarrassing it can be to jump to conclusions and forget to employ critical thinking before someone makes their opinion public.


Donna, Radio Caller, Wants Deer Crossing Signs Moved So Deer Won’t Cross Highways (AUDIO)

Animals Can’t Talk

Blogger Kathleen O’Brien Wilhelm an Internet Celeb After Her Patch Blog Goes Viral

About Dani Johnson

I am 26 years old and I live in a college town with my boyfriend, our 2 dogs and chinchilla, 4 additional room mates and the house cat. Since I share financial responsibilities with my boyfriend I am waiting on him to finish college before I go back (he's almost done!). I will then focus my studies on Science Writing. I want to write particularly about Astrophysics, Cosmology and Planetary Science. Until then, I spend my free time listening to various podcasts about science and skepticism to inspire deeper research on potential writing topics. I also enjoy sewing, drawing, writing fiction, spending time with the boyfriend and pets, amateur astronomy and some girly things like nails, hair and makeup.
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8 Responses to Animals can’t talk, deer can’t read and trees are only here to enhance human life.

  1. Marty says:

    I feel like everything Kathleen Wilhelm writes is satire. I just read her blog post about the government making us fat, and I can’t believe that anybody would write that content in that tone with those specific words and be serious. She might even be making fun of the right-wing, redneck, stereotype. If she is being sincere she may be handicapped or just bat-shit crazy. I’m going to continue to read all her articles and assume they are written in jest with a moral to learn. She could be a writer for with that treasure trove!

    • Dani Johnson says:

      I have read quite a few of her blogs and have never read any solid indication of satire. I have also not read anything that specifically states that it is not satire. My opinion is that it’s very clear that she believes everything she types, and even Kathleen Wilhelm says “Words are fun and worth clearly stating, in English if in America, and with an opinion that is yours because it’s good to have an opinion.”

  2. Two societal issues spring to mind with regards to this story:

    #1) A complete failure of the education system.
    How do you get out of public school believing these signs are to tell deer where to cross?

    #2) Our general lack of driver training.
    How do you get a drivers license and still believe these signs are intended for the deer?

    • Dani Johnson says:

      I think the proper way to ask #1) is: How do you get out of public school and still think that EVERYONE ELSE is so stupid that they would place signs for animals when animals clearly cant read. Remember, SHE knows the truth, it’s everyone else that thinks deer know how to read. 😉

      I agree. It’s probably been 50 years since she’s taken the driver’s test and I have no idea what her driver’s test might have been like since I’ve only had my license for 9 years. I think it would be a good idea for the entire country to require re-tests every certain amount of years to (hopefully) weed out some bad drivers, or at least to show said bad drivers that they CAN forget traffic rules (or even make some up) after years of not thinking about it and that a refresher every now and then is a good thing.

      • #1: Ha! Good point.

        As for the rest of your post, yes, improved training/testing is something I’ve been advocating for a long time. Even though it’s off topic, I believe our biggest issue with roadway safety is lack of proper training. We are focused on teaching the rules of the road, not on how to drive. Race car drivers know how to drive. Your average person behind the wheel of an average vehicle most likely hasn’t a clue. As someone who took extensive driver training, at personal expense, I can attest to how it made me a better driver, even if only in confidence behind the wheel. Yes, I know what all the road signs mean, and what to do at a 4-way stop (or worse yet…the dreaded traffic circle), but I also know what to do if a tire blows out on the highway (I would never have flipped an Explorer) or if I hit a patch of black ice on the highway, or the person in front of me brakes suddenly (wouldn’t be a huge problem for me, I don’t tailgate, and I never allow myself to be boxed in). Proper training, with regular re-testing would do more to save lives on our roads than anything else.

        Anyway, like I said, that’s a discussion for another day.

  3. Phil says:

    When I went to the pet store the cockatoo said hello to me. Ha!
    Seriously…. There was that talking parrot which died a few years ago, he was all over the Internet. Made me scratch my head as to language and intelligence and animals.

    • Dani Johnson says:

      Alex (1976 – September 6, 2007)[1] was an African Grey Parrot and the subject of a thirty-year (1977–2007) experiment by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg, initially at the University of Arizona and later at Harvard University and Brandeis University.

      Have you heard of the African Grey Parrot called ALEX (Avian Learning EXperiment) that was the subject of a 30 year experiment by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg?

      Apparently being modest in her descriptions of Alex’s accomplishments the bird was known to identify 50 different objects, recognize quantities up to six, and distinguish seven colors and five shapes. He could understand the concepts of “bigger”, “smaller”, “same”, and “different” and was in the process of learning “over” and “under”. He had a vocabulary of around 150 words and, when asked, could correctly label an object when asked about its shape or color. He understood what a key was even when presented with keys of different shapes and colors.

      What is really amazing is that Alex seemed to display boredom by purposly giving wrong answers to questions that he had long since known the answers to. For example, as a regular exercise he was presented with several different colored blocks to try and teach him to count. There were two red blocks, three blue blocks and four green blocks and the idea of the game is to get him to relate the numbers with the colors. Pepperberg asked “What color three?” expecting him to answer “blue”, but since he was bored with the question he just answered “five!”. Pepperberg persisted and asked the question a few more times before deciding to see how the bird responded to “Fine, what color five?” to which Alex replied “none”. He was just messing with her!

      I highly recommend finding the videos she made of him and watching this magnificently intelligent creature yourself, it will truly make you think.

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