If it feels so bad, how can it be good...


I just killed a snake.

You may know that I take pictures of animals that have died on the road. You can find them in the In Memoriam photo album on this page (no bloody stuff, I promise). So when I saw a 50 cm snake lying still on the side of the road, I got ready to get my camera when it suddenly moved toward me. I jumped back of course, which was easier than I thought possible with my cart. I could tell from its movement that something was wrong. I don't know if it is biologically possible for a snake to break its neck, but that was what it looked like. It was suffering. 

What to do? It didn't feel right to leave it dying on the asphalt, either from its injury, the 27 degree sun, or a merciful car. I wasn't going to take a picture either. It is one thing to pay your respects to a dead animal and try to capture a remnant of its beauty and soul in a picture, it is quite another thing to wait and watch an animal die. I had to think fast and decided that the most merciful thing to do was crush its head under my boot. I dreaded it in advance, but there was no other way.

No animal wants to die and I saw with horror and anxiety how its body curld and twisted under my weight, but I couldn't go back now. Ten seconds past before it gave in. I jumped backward again and looked at the dead body of an animal I wouldn't come near if I ever encountered it alive, no matter what size. I crushed its head alright, and I hope that the death struggle I witnessed was like the twitching body of a chicken that had its head chopped off: a reflex of the muscles. I don't know. And it wont make me feel much better.

I am sorry if you don't want to hear about such things. Call it therapy, but I needed to share this. I know I did the right thing. But man, how doing the right thing can freak you out.

Wijnand Boon