Haunting coyote roadkill silhouette


Dylan Menges snapped this haunting silhouette of left behind when he moved the still-warm corpse of a roadkilled coyote: "She hadn't been there long (still warm), and moving her carcass off the road revealed the salty silhouette from passing cars on a winter highway."

Charlie Down (via Reddit)

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  1. The perfect edges are more of a problem for me. The body would have to have been lifted straight up from several spots at once, otherwise some part of the body would have dragged – the feet, tail and head, at least, would all have to be lifted at once.

    Mind you, for all I know, that’s exactly what happened.

  2. Road salt looks white when it’s cold and dry, but not when it’s warm and damp. So, I can see how the warm body would create an image on a cold, dry road. Great shot, BTW.

  3. RIP, Wile E. Coyote.
    Your never give up attitude will be missed. Also I feel the Road Runner is somehow evolved … this looks like his handiwork were there any huge anvils close by ?

  4. The Road Runner was probably driving the salt truck . . .

    But seriously, I doubt it is fake. The physics of it all are totally legit (you wouldn’t leave footprints or trails on salted asphalt), but the moist warm body would cut out a silhouette on an already caked road.

    On the other hand, the composition is really good. Maybe too good? The fact that the coyote fell in such a perfect silhouette position, and bled in such a perfect, yet fairly restrained way . . .

    I don’t know, I think it is probably real, but it is certainly a very lucky find (photographically speaking, my condolences go out the they coyotes friends and family).

  5. Its a really good composition. Soem other things that arouse my suspicion is why there is such a concentration of salt immediately around the body, but it tapes off towards the edges of the photo.

  6. people who auto yell “FAKE!!” at everything really annoy me. The world is chock full of unbelievable beauty. Nothing should amaze you, except of course everything.

    Having said that. The fact the salt is most concentrated next to the outlines of the body (especially around the tail, which I imagine would not be as warm as the body) and fades towards the edges does indeed make this look like a stencil.

      1. Totally. I think it’s real by the way. But I was undecided until I check out the authors flickr. Not a single stencil shot there!

        1. Well, it is a stencil painting, really – the stencil just happens to have been a dead coyote, and the paint misted salt water splashed up by passing cars.

    1. people who auto yell “FAKE!!” at everything really annoy me. The world is chock full of unbelievable beauty. Nothing should amaze you, except of course everything.

      Having said that. The fact the salt is most concentrated next to the outlines of the body (especially around the tail, which I imagine would not be as warm as the body) and fades towards the edges does indeed make this look like a stencil.

      I agree entirely with the first paragraph.

      The concentration of salt immediately around the body is easy to explain. Given that salt was being thrown over the carcass by passing cars, much of what landed on the coyote slid off, and probably most of the effect is a result of the way the presence of the coyote caused moving air, carrying salt, to change direction. Basically, the extra salt is just what was going to land inside the silhouette if it wasn’t for the coyote.

      I can even tell you that its legs are pointing to the road.

      1. Yes that makes sense. If it’s legs face the road then you would expect it to look this way.
        What an incredible image.

        @Stefan: This coyote IS Banksy. (..well, was)

      2. Yeah, and legs on roadkill always point towards the road. LOL!! And how many road kills have you examined so that you could declare that the trace amounts of salt would accumulate directly around an object? BTW, “salt” isn’t used anymore. A de-icing solution is now the norm.

        This is such an obvious fake. The stenciling is so blatant. But the real give away is found when you enlarge the pic and examine how the “blood” in the stenciled head area is clearly spray painted on the asphalt. look at how the paint is faded back from the jaw area.

    1. Don’t care if it is real or fake, I agree with oddboyout: “What an eerily beautiful picture.”

  7. It looks like an air brush was used. Salt wouldn’t have formed a perfect little “halo” around the body, it would’ve covered the pavement more evenly.

    Even if it is fake it is a sad but lovely photo. I always say a little prayer when I see an animal that has been killed on the road.

  8. “…there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization”

    Werner Herzog,
    The Minnesota Declaration

  9. The salt was already there.

    The warmth of the body made the salt no longer white for a while.

    The salt looks more concentrated around the coyote because of the camera flash being centered in that area.

    That is all.

    1. And to add to that, moving cars kick up a LOT of salt that’s already on the road. I have a black sports car (never, never again. In fact I’m thinking of painting it Mustang Silver), and I’ll get it washed on clear, dry winter day. Just the drive home from the detailers (5 miles) and I have a fine layer of salt dust on it already. So a carcass being covered in salt kicked up from passing cars is not as unbelievable to me.

  10. Now there’s an album cover.

    My heart goes out to both the coyote and all you Boingers who have to deal with road salt every winter. Would it be rude to point out that it’s sunny, clear, and 80 degrees F out here in Pasadena, CA?

    We do January right.

  11. The halo is shopped. I can tell from some of the salt and from seeing quite a few roadkills in my time.

  12. The relentless cynicism here disgusts me. It is a beautiful photo but the enjoyment that came from seeing it was ruined by reading the comments.

  13. This is eerily beautiful, as stated in other comments. It also makes me want to read a million stories from Native American mythologies. I can easily picture it as book cover art (for the right book, of course).

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