Thursday, September 17, 2015

Everything has changed 9-16-2015

Before fucking up everything I believe in, here is what I saw.

It was a hot afternoon, 85° and I hit a small reserve on the way home from work to see if I could see some animals. Near a pond, I got a glimpse of Garter... 10 feet away and on the other side of some muck.

I flipped plenty of Redbacks but they were mostly pretty quick because of the heat. I got photos of just these two.

I went some time without any more animals until I flipped this good sized Garter.

Things were going swimmingly. I wish I turned back right there. But on I went.

I got to a rock lined culvert... rock on rock. I told myself I would just flip the low hanging fruit... stepping out onto the rocks would be dangerous for anything under them. One side, nothing.

On the next side, I flipped a small Garter Snake who darted off as soon as the rock was lifted. I replaced the rock, not knowing that he had doubled back and was heading under the bottom edge of the rock. I saw him when the damage had been done. I had seriously injured him, about 3 inches behind the head. He was in pain. I decided to put him out of his misery and killed him as quickly as possible. Everything I stand for and believe in was destroyed in a moment.

I have always been a huge advocate for animals, especially snakes, and am the first to rail against Rattlesnake Roundups and assholes with shovels. While my intentions are not the same, the end result of my negligence is... a dead animal. That which I love the most has suffered at my hand. This is, in my heart, unforgivable. I have always been careful and yes, accidents do happen, but this is something that I can not, nor should I, put behind me. It will live with me forever.

I don't know what the future will hold for me personally as far as the pursuit of seeing and learning about nature. Time will tell if I am able to move beyond it. Right now, I am consumed by a self-hatred that is impossible to put into words. It should have been me dying on that rocky culvert, not an innocent animal.


  1. The very fact that you feel so much remorse and compassion for that animal is why more people like you need to be in the field. Take care and feel better.

  2. Oh Mike. If this accident had happened to someone else, what would your response be? If your wife or a friend did this? You would understand it was an accident and encourage them not be beat themselves up. You would tell them they did the right thing by putting the animal out of its misery. You would tell them not to let years of caring and advocating for these creatures be sullied by an accident. You would tell them not to let it dissuade them from continuing.
    I volunteer in wildlife rescue and there are countless stories of accidental injury or death by someone working in the rehab to an animal in our care. It happens, animals can be fragile, especially the babies. When it happens you have to be gentle with yourself.
    Intention matters, Mike. It matters a great deal.

  3. MIke ,querido amigo,,,lo que pasó con ese animal,es doloroso, pero hiciste bien en apresurar su muerte para que no sufriera,Una persona inhumana e indiferente,la hubiera dejado agonizar,y vos la despenaste, Te quiero más por eso,!!!En mi afecto por vos estás en 10puntos,!!!Un abrazo de tu amiga Martha

  4. This very thing happened to me once when I was about 16 and now- at 37, I still feel guilt about it. HUGS