By Sam Boykin
The animal that propelled Amy Ritchie into her life’s work was a king snake, a name too lofty for what he looked like before she turned him into a belt.
The king was road kill.
Ritchie was 13 when she found the snake squashed alongside the blacktop, and being able to give him a purpose in death captivated her. Soon, she asked her father, Ned, whose paper route required him to drive a lot, to bring home other flattened critters.
Ritchie read books and went online to teach herself the art of skinning and mounting dead animals. She did her work in the family’s attic.
“I started out,” she said, “doing squirrels, possums and rats.”
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