Photos of dead animals

I have some photos of some dead animals, some are disturbing, I do not want to post without checking first. Is there a special place to post them???

I think if they will likely upset people, then make the observations photo-less? The obs will be casual, but that is fine… all obs can be used by researchers regardless of “research grade” or not. Or maybe you can host the image elsewhere and provide a link in the description, with a suitable warning of course!

Another possibility, if they aren’t TOO bad, is to put a closeup photo of a part that doesn’t upset, such as the tail, or a foot, or fur on the back etc, as the first photo, then the questionable ones as #2+… and put a warning in the description that it is of a dead animal, and that it might be disturbing. That way it doesn’t just hit the observer flicking through needs ID obs, they have to explicitly “open” the images that will offend.

Most iNatters are well aware that death is part of the natural world, but there will always be those that can’t handle it.If you post the obs with the photos, make sure you are around to respond to any complaints or suggestions that might be made.

This is of course just my way of thinking as a felow iNatter, do consider the ideas put forward by others, especially those from staff or devs


Just post it.


There are a lot of pictures of dead animals/roadkill on iNat. If you feel bad about it, make the first picture a warning sign so people won’t scroll through the images unless they want to:


Here’s the general commentary on dead animals from the community guidelines:

Images of dead or dismembered animals. While we do not endorse killing or fatally injuring animals just for the sake of contributing to iNaturalist, as naturalists we all encounter such scenes in our explorations, for example in the form of road kill and recent predation events (including predation by humans). While these kinds of images can be disturbing for some people, they can also be interesting, and provide the same kind of scientifically relevant occurrence data as an image of a living creature. Very often they demonstrate some aspect of the life history of the organisms involved, or may even provide information relevant to the conservation of the organism in question.

That said, I do think kiwifergus’s idea of posting a less disturbing image as the first photo and a note explaining that subsequent photos may be disturbing is the way to go.


I agree, posting a less gruesome picture as the first one and leaving a potential warning in the comments is a good approach. Some types of dead animal observations could actually be quite valuable if someone is interested in topics like predation (either by native species or maybe tracking mortality due to invasive species like rats or cats) or mortality caused by humans (roadkill, bycatch, etc.). Those are important conservation issues, so even if the pics might be a little uncomfortable, the data are potentially important enough to warrant it!


Data about animal mortality are really important, I manage a project on roadkill and it is very important to have observations with photographs, that is observations where the species is officially recognized or recognizable, to perform statistical analyses and analize the factors that increase or decrease mortality for each species: that can happen only if photographs are posted. If you think you could affect someone, please post a first warning image, as already suggested.


It’s a hard one, and i don’t want to sound flippant, but there’s no real way to have a site for reporting animals without having dead ones sometimes, unless you seriously limit its value and effectiveness. As others have said the data is super important - and will result in less dead animals than if we don’t post them - which to me seems more important. I think the idea of posting a non gross image as the first one is a really good one. However, I don’t think the sign is a very good idea. It’s going to get fed into all our photo aggregators ( taxon page, algorithm, etc) and is also mildly against the rules because it’s not actually evidence of the organism. It’s not one I think anyone is going to come down on, but it seems like it isn’t a great solution.

That all being said, it’s the internet, and even if we set up etiquette around it, someone isn’t going to follow it. If it’s a huge issue for you, you might consider focusing on identifying plants or fungi, or insects, which for the most part aren’t likely to have any gory mammal or bird bits.


I use as my first “photo” a statement, “Caution, dead animal.” The other photos are the animal itself, but the viewer got to choose whether to see it to or not.

Good idea on the first picture “warning” like you’ve done…

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I agree with @charlie’s reasoning for why it’s not great to put a warning graphic as an observation image. Roadkill data are important and are often the best way to know a) where a species is and b) where local authories can possible mitigate conditions which cause it. @mazer: happy to look at the photos first if you want to send it to I doubt it’s worse than many of the roadkill photos already on the site.


I appreciate that. There should be an option to flag individual photos as “no evidence of organism” or “supporting picture only” (which doesn’t associate it with the taxon) instead of just flagging the whole record. If I found a critter (picture A), and wanted to show the habitat I found it in (picture B), it may or may not be useful to someone, but picture B shouldn’t be linked to the taxon of the critter (picture A) (this is assuming that picture B isn’t just a different individual taxon like a plant that could be its own record).

Not sure if that made sense or I just rambled.


On FB we have roadkill pictures of urban caracal and baboons. Recently 3 whales died after being trapped in lines from octopus fishing. We need to scroll past smartly - or process the story.


I agree with this, and it has been proposed before, but it doesn’t exist yet, so technically observations should not include habitat shots that don’t include the target species. In the case of plants I sometimes do habitat shots but just have the plant in the photo. I know this isn’t always possible for birds and such. In any event the first photo should probably be the one that is the most clear and representative and diagnostic view of the target organism, though that’s not officially a rule (and in the case of gory dead things, i think the non-gory first photo makes sense).

For what it’s worth, i don’t think posting dead humans is appropriate, for a variety of reasons including the fact that unlike a coyote or squirrel, a human likely has family members and friends surviving who are on the internet who might encounter it. Haven’t seen it yet on iNat, but people seem to like to do it on Facebook and Twitter to make a political point. Complicated issue, but I am hoping nothing here goes that route.


Rage against the machine man…rage.

(I kid)



there are some things on here that get me raging or at least ranting, but habitat shots isn’t actually one of them.


Being able to categorize photos is something we plan to implement, but it’s not just something we can do in the near future.


I just know if there is concrete/asphalt and/or a CSI ruler to just move on and not look.


lol… gotta love the “now, what’s going on here… OH! crikey, ain’t gonna be able to un-see that in a hurry!”

It can be an issue if, for instance, browsing through observations while showing a potential new user… or groups of school children when doing presentations on what was seen around their neighbourhoods… “and other people are seeing… wait while I just click next… oh! a dead cat! a very dead cat… dang, that cat is DEAD!.. moving on…”


Good points!