WARNING to all animals - avoid the M5 because you'll be taking your life into your legs or paws.

Apparently, the motorway which runs through Somerset is the most dangerous in the country for animals.

Statistics show that more animals are killed on the M5 than on any other road in the country.

A Freedom of Information requests submitted by uswitch to Highways England, the Department for Economy and Transport, the Department for Transport and the Department for Infrastructure, show 279 instances of roadkill reported on the M5 between June 2019 and September 2020.

Not far behind was the M6 with 244 reported roadkills, with the M62 third on 220.

Other roads you may be familiar with include the A38, where 76 animal deaths were recorded over the same period; the A303 with 24;

Across the whole of the South West, the carnage saw a total of 373 animal deaths reported - included in that total 35 were deer; 12 badgers; six cats; nine foxes; six birds; two dogs; eight others; one 'wild animal'; and one sheep.

A uswitch spokesperson said: "According to the data provided, there were 2,888 roadkill incidents where the species of the animal was not specified.

"Out of those which were specified, deer are the animal most likely to be hit on UK roads, with a reported 296 incidents between June 2019 and September 2020.

"Foxes and badgers were the next most at risk, with 120 and 108 reported incidents, followed by cats and dogs, with 50 and 44 reported roadkill incidents.

"Splitting out the data for England by region, the North East saw the highest number of incidents, with a total of 843, followed by the North West with 779.

"Where the species was reported, deer was the most at risk species in every region of England, with the South East reporting the highest number of incidents with 41. However, when looking at other species, there were some noticeable regional differences.

"The East Midlands, West Midlands and South West all had badger as their second most at risk species, while the East and South East saw more incidents involving foxes. Further North, domestic animals proved to be more at risk, with dogs being the second most reported roadkill in the North East, and cats being the second most reported in the North West."

In a uswitch study of 2,226 drivers, 50 per cent admitted to having at some time hit an animal.

The research showed that BMW drivers are the most likely to be involved in a roadkill incident, with 71 per cent owning up to having hit an animal.

Citroen drivers were the least likely, with just 45 per cent having hit an animal while on the road.

Sarah Perkins, of citizen science group Project Splatter, said: "It’s interesting, but not surprising, to see how much the public underestimate the magnitude of wildlife roadkill. The scale of the issue is huge, with millions of animals hit by vehicles every year.

"We’ve been collecting data on where and when wildlife roadkill occurs since 2013 with members of the public reporting data directly to us, and we consistently see motorways with the most roadkill. The top five species most reported to us are always the same badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, pheasants, and rabbits.

"We’d like to work with members of the public to build up a more complete picture of where and when animals are hit by vehicles so that we can identify risk factors in terms of when and where you might encounter animals. People can report wildlife sightings on the UK roads to us via a range of platforms, including our smartphone app, email, social media or the contact form on our website.”