January 24, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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slow killer. They filmed a turtle catching a bird

Huge turtles don’t only feed on leaves.

You may not have seen a slower duel between predator and prey. For the first time, scientists managed to shoot a giant turtle during a hasty chase.

The footage was taken on Frigate Island Seychelles. A female giant tortoise is chasing a young bird of the seagull family that appears to have fallen out of the nest.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was scary and amazing at the same time,” describe hunting In a press release from Cell Press, biologist Justin Gerlach of the University of Cambridge.

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In the shots, the tortoise focuses on the little bird and slowly heads towards it. When he gets close enough to him, he pops his head out and clicks on his mouth. He does it many times, of course, very slowly. Finally, he grabbed the head of the cub and swallowed it once.

Scientists have known for a long time that slow turtles are not only herbivores. They saw them eating meat, bones, or boxes. But it is not yet clear if they hunted their animal food.

Thus the shots from the Seychelles are the first evidence of the predatory behavior of the giant tortoise. It is not yet clear how widespread it is. Observations have been described by scientists as well In the scientific journal Current Biology.

DOI: 10.1016 / j.cub.2021.06.088

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