Photos of dead animals

I do not believe in wanton killing of any animal, I do however photograph animals which have been predated upon or are victims of mans carelessness or accidents. I have no issue with the photos myself, they are a part of the natural world. I will take the advice and post a non upsetting photo with a warning, I just want to be respectful, thanks


This is where having an alive/dead annotation for animals would come in handy. It would make it easier for those studying roadkill/mortality to find observations, as well as make it possible for those who don’t want to see dead things to filter them out.


That could go along with the “sign and song” fields for things other than direct observation. You could have for instance tracks, call, dead animal, living animal all as options.


I routinely post road kills
On here
I usually leave a comment on how and where found like
Road Fatality
Gut dump
Or any other
Appropriate comment
To describe the observation

Gut dumps from hunting legal or illegal
Hard to believe but I know some G&F
People who are starting to take a interest
In these observations
And the road fatalities
Are helping with underpasses/overpasses construction
And hwy/roadway
Signs and warnings
I do wish there was a way to mark observations
On the app as so

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Interesting to see, understand bias about topics like this. It’s interesting which blatant examples of animal mortality “we” are okay with, and which ones we aren’t. Almost nobody has a problem with invertebrate mortality, yet pictures of seashells and such are graphic reminders of death. Observations of dead wildlife are extremely important so if natural we can understand the what/why/how, and even more so if unnatural mortality so we can figure out how to stop or mitigate it.


I stumbled across this… very thought provoking!


Good idea. I write “Deceased” in the comments if applicable, tagging as such if on the PC. But most of my uploads are via the Android app.

Gulp! What an eye-opener, I will never think about a butterfly image the same way again!
There’s an EDM band Tritonal that uses a stylized dead butterfly on every album cover.

Thank you for sharing.


In my photo catalog keywords, I have different ones for types of animal sign (vertebrates as well as invertebrates) and one for dead animals (“carcass”) that I use generally, e.g. that includes mostly-entire animals as well as gut piles.
If I come across a carcass of something, I try to take closeup photos of areas or parts that we don’t usually get to see–it’s a learning opportunity.
In the case of my roadkill Western Screech Owl, it got into the CA roadkill project (apparently not by me since I wasn’t a member then but I am of the separate website). My “carcass” tag carried over, plus I said it was roadkill.

It would be nice to be able to have some standard way to filter these in (or out) when searching or browsing, i.e. better than tags or descriptions, aside from the possibility that someone would be upset by seeing animal remains (For myself, they’re all sad, but it’s the human-caused ones that I find troubling). Have any users actually said they get too upset looking at those kinds of things and try to avoid them? I’m curious, anyway.


Personally, I dislike it, like you, particularly the human-caused ones. But I am not grossed out or avoid looking at them. Being out in nature it’s hard to avoid dead or sick wildlife.


That’s an interesting article! Right on. There are good reasons why entomologists pin dead butterflies like that (you can see all the structures). Those poses make no sense in illustrations of living butterflies.

I like photographs of butterflies in flight. They’re hard to do but really show off how flexible and clever those wings are. I often see butterflies flying in animated shows where the wings go up and down as if they’re made of rigid cardboard.

But I’m getting off topic. Yes, post photos of dead animals.


There had been a google group conversation about this at one point where user(s) said they were upset or offended.

I agree with you here, it always bugs me to see dead things, even though they are a part of life, even the smallest ones. Even invasive ones like the Grove snails we have all over the place here, when I see an empty shell, I think of the life that lived there for a time.

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nope, I am trying to avoid such issues if they exist, I know many contributors are citizens and not researchers and may be more sensitive to such matters

But what happens if someone doesn’t annotate it immediately (since annotations aren’t required)? Are people going to flag them?

I don’t mean to be insensitive, but anyone who goes out to explore nature is bound to come upon a dead animal or two. Kudos to @mazer for asking, but it’s an inevitable part of the experience, so I’m having a difficult time understanding what the problem is about posting these sightings.


I agree with the author of that post. Will be seeing dead butterflies everywhere from now on. Including on some of my own jewelry, I’m afraid (:

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and what about animals killed on purpose? Maybe it is a little bit off-topic but there are many observations of users “proudly” showing their prey… does iNat need such obs?

That’s true that using annotations to enable filtering searches for dead/alive would only work as well as people annotate. However, dead animals pop up rarely enough that folks may be more inclined to add that annotation (on their own observations or those of others) even when they wouldn’t normally annotate for life stage or sex.