Thousands of dead marsupials lie along the sides of Australia's vast road network and many of them have been sprayed with brightly colored crosses or other symbols.
Because drought seizes much of the nation, the number of deaths by indigenous animals is increasing, which in some drivers leads to confusion about what the markings mean.
Internet theories include that dead kangaroos and wombats are painted prior to the collection by roadkills commuters or to warn motorists of their potentially dangerous presence.
Scroll down for video
Thousands of dead animals are in the vast road network of Australia. Many marsupials are marked with a spray-painted cross or other symbol on the body, causing some motorists to be confused
Internet theories include dead kangaroos and wombats being painted before gathering by roadkill crews or warning motorists of their dangerous presence along the way
The real reason that marsupials are sprayed is practical, ingenious and clearly Australian
Others have jokingly suggested that roadkill was marked as fresh enough to eat. The real reason is clearly Australian.
Female marsupials have pouches, meaning a dead one can carry an offspring, and the painted markings show that the pouch has been checked on a Joey.
Practice means that other passing conservationists do not waste time or take unnecessary risks along the way, looking for a living Joey in the dead marsupial.
A joey can sometimes survive for days in the bag of his dead mother.
Nicky Rushworth of AWARE Wildlife said the system was well understood by rescue groups for wildlife, but not necessarily by average city administrators who might be on rural roads.
& # 39; It would not be something that the general public would know, but it is well known in all rescue groups, & # 39; she said.
"The cross on the back of victims of animals in nature indicates that a savior has attended, the animal has checked that it is absolutely dead and the animal and the environment have judged the existence of young.
This kangaroo, found by a caretaker of the Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter in Victoria, had a living Joey inside. The caregiver was able to save the young animal from a slow death next to the road
It is clear that it saves other rescue workers from constantly going out to the same animal that has already been checked. & # 39;
Mrs Rushworth said that in droughts the roadside verges became increasingly attractive to native animals.
& # 39; Often in times of dry weather the grass is more direct on both sides of a road, & # 39; said Mrs. Rushworth.
& # 39; This is because roads are slightly convex and any rainfall is driven directly to both sides in concentration, resulting in more lush vegetation.
& # 39; This is what attracts wildlife and why they live so dangerously close to passing traffic.
Other animals in the wild can also become victims of the traffic that has come to feed on dead carcasses from other animals. & # 39;
If the animal is dead, it is important that its body is removed from the road, so it is not a danger for motorists and it does not attract carnivores that could also be killed.
& # 39; This is especially common in the case of wedge-tailed eagles, so we encourage people to remove dead animals from the road whenever and wherever, & # 39; said Rushworth.
Some experts estimate that millions of marsupials are killed every year on Australian roads.
Victoria & # 39; s Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter posted a video on its Facebook page late last year, with a caretaker checking the body of a dead kangaroo by the side of the road.
Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter carer Kylee Donkers is starting to take a Joey out of a pouch
The Joey, named by Mrs Donkers Arlo, leaves the mother's pouch bruised but alive and well behind
& # 39; I was on rescue this afternoon and saw that a Kangaroo battle had fallen and had been killed in the grass by the side of the road, Kylee Donkers wrote.
& # 39; I pulled over as I normally do, grabbed my paint sprayer to mark it.
& # 39; When I got closer, I was shocked when I saw her belly move and a few long pink legs hung around. By the time I walked back to the car to get a pouch, the little man also had his head out.
I moved her from the road a bit more and used my vehicle to protect us from traffic, then I carefully removed Joey. & # 39;
The video shows that Mrs. Donkers then sprays a cross on the body of the kangaroo and paints on the bag.
Rescue workers recommend the best that motorists can do to reduce, slow down, especially at night.
Marsupials – including kangaroos, wombats and wallabies – are the most active from early morning to sunset. They can often be unpredictable.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH A DEAD KANGAROO?
If you hit an animal or if you have seen an animal on the road that seems to have been hit, stop to check the animal
If it is not safe for you to stop reporting WIRES of the location of the animal
Go down in a safe place and use your hazard lights. Do not stop at a corner. Wear well-visible or bright clothing
Find all surviving joeys, who can survive for days in a pouch. Pay attention to obvious lumps and movements in the pouch and check the inside of the pouch
If you find a Joey attached to the teat, do not try to remove it yourself
If the Joey is not attached to the teat, remove it from the pouch and keep it warm and still
Give the Joey nothing to eat and try to deal with it as little as possible
Call WIRES immediately at 1300 094 737
If there are no offspring in the pouch, look in the surrounding areas for a joey who was thrown out of the pouch at impact.
Move the body of the dead animal away from the road so that it does not endanger motorists or attraction to carnivorous animals
Large mammals can be very heavy, so dragging the body at the base of its tail or hind legs is best
Paint a cross on the animal or tie a ribbon or similar with the foot of the animal to signal to other drivers that the animal has been checked
WIRES, the largest organization for saving wildlife, suggests if you have a marsupial or have a wounded animal on the road to stop and check if the conditions are safe.
To find leftover joeys, look for clear lumps and movements in the pouch area and inspect the inside of the pouch.
If the Joey is not attached to the teat, remove it from the pouch and keep it warm and still. Give the Joey nothing to eat and try to deal with it as little as possible.
Paint a cross or tie a ribbon or similar to the foot of the animal to signal to other drivers that the animal has been checked.
WIRES recommends finding a Joey that is attached to the teat, not to remove it yourself.
The location of a wounded animal can be reported to WIRES at 1300 094 737.
After removing the Joey, Donkers painted the dead kangaroo with a cross on his body