"Completely surprising and rather horrible": giant tortoises eat baby birds

Perhaps it is time to retire the phrase “gentle giant”. Seychellois researchers filmed a giant tortoise chasing and devouring a tern ch...


Perhaps it is time to retire the phrase “gentle giant”.

Seychellois researchers filmed a giant tortoise chasing and devouring a tern chick in one fell swoop. Scientists involved in the discovery say this is the first time such an act has been filmed. Even they are shaken.

“It is totally surprising and rather horrible,” said Justin gerlach, island ecologist at Peterhouse, Cambridge, England. “The turtle willfully chases this bird and kills it, then eats it.” So yes, it’s the hunt.

Giant tortoises, now only found in the Seychelles and the Galapagos Islands, were considered herbivorous. In fact, their vegetarian diets are believed to have shaped their ecosystems, like elephants or bison. But in a paper published Monday in the journal Current Biology, Dr Gerlach and Anna Zora, co-author of the Frigate Island Foundation, explain that there have been indications that heavy reptiles may supplement their diet from time to time. Turtles sometimes consume the shells of snails and the bones of dead birds, goats, and even other turtles. But to hunt?

There had been rumors of turtles stalking seabird chicks, which become helpless after they fall from their nests. But until the video is captured, revealing a scene that looks a bit like “Are You My Mother?” by PD Eastman. if it had instead been written by Roald Dahl – Dr Gerlach surmised that such an observation was at best a misunderstanding.

“Nobody looked for him, because why would you do it?” Turtles don’t hunt, ”said Dr Gerlach. “You’re not just going to waste your time looking for a hunting turtle.”

Now he wonders what else we can learn from these creatures, who can live more than 200 years and reach over 500 pounds.

“It’s quite a mystery that they discovered here,” said James gibbs, a herpetologist at the State University of New York and the Galápagos Conservancy who was not involved in the research.

When Dr Gibbs watched the video, he was surprised at the slowness and awkwardness of the attack.

“It’s a very interesting combination of diligence and incompetence,” he said.

Dr Gibbs has studied giant tortoises for about 30 years in the Galapagos, where he said turtles have developed a curious relationship with birds.

“The turtles will stand up and extend all their limbs and tails, and the finches will come and nurse them from ticks,” said Dr Gibbs. “I’ve heard over the years that sometimes the turtles would fall and flatten the finches and eat them. But those were just anecdotes, and after spending many, many years there, I never saw it myself.

But there is no doubt what is happening in the Seychelles video. Indeed, scientists note that the turtle is showing signs of having previously hunted seabird chicks.

For example, when turtles eat leaves, grass, or fruit, they stretch out their tongues and draw food into their mouths. But the turtle in the video has its tongue retracted and its eyes closed, a sign that it is wary of some danger with this food source.

“It behaves in a different way from normal food,” said Dr Gerlach. “It’s not just about collecting food. It’s a killing to collect food.

According to Dr. Gibbs, the fact that the giant tortoise is female can be a big clue to the shocking behavior. Island systems tend to lack calcium, a mineral essential for building eggshells.

So while the video of a giant tortoise attacking a helpless tern chick may be difficult for some people to watch, the act of predation could simply be a way for animals to ensure the next generation’s success.

“We used to think of them as not particularly interesting, slow and probably pretty dumb,” Dr Gerlach said of giant tortoises. “But it is clear that there is so much more to these animals.”

Source Link

COMMENTS

Name

Africa,882,Americas,4252,Art & Culture,15544,Arts,6677,Arts & Design,1802,Asia,3471,Automobile,497,Baseball,718,Basketball,578,Books,4085,Business,5547,Celebrity,2633,Cricket,648,Crime,158,Cryptocurrency,1846,Dance,620,Defense,836,Diplomatic Relations,2496,Economy,1257,Editorial,260,Education,1373,Elections,308,Energy & Environment,3107,Entertainment,23234,Environment,3801,Europe,4407,Faith & Religion,235,Family & Life,817,Fashion & Style,3483,Finance,20871,Food & Drink,3956,Football,1166,Games,97,Gossip,10289,Health & Fitness,4304,Health Care,950,Hockey,237,Home & Garden,920,Humour,994,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,17866,Media,527,Middle East,1635,Movies,1903,Music,2829,Opinion,3570,Other,12559,Other Sports,5271,Political News,11324,Political Protests,2324,Politics,18242,Real Estate,2085,Relationship,106,Retail,3116,Science,2819,Science & Tech,10632,Soccer,301,Space & Cosmos,381,Sports,12821,Technology,3631,Tennis,657,Theater,1830,Transportation,313,Travel,2709,TV,3861,US,1049,US Sports,1481,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1069,Weird News,998,World,17396,
ltr
item
Newsrust - US Top News: "Completely surprising and rather horrible": giant tortoises eat baby birds
"Completely surprising and rather horrible": giant tortoises eat baby birds
https://static01.nyt.com/images/2021/08/23/science/23tb-tortoise-video-image/23tb-tortoise-video-image-facebookJumbo.jpg
Newsrust - US Top News
https://www.newsrust.com/2021/08/completely-surprising-and-rather.html
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/2021/08/completely-surprising-and-rather.html
true
732247599994189300
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content