(CNN) – Researchers have captured the moment when vegetarians ate meat across the border for the rest of their lives. And what makes this even more “terrifying” thing is that it is a tortoise.
Scientists have videotaped a giant tortoise from the Seychelles that was previously thought to be a vegetarian and was the first document to deliberately hunt any wild tortoise.
“This is a completely unexpected behavior and has never been seen before in wild turtles,” Justin Kerlach, director of the Cambridge Peterhouse Research Institute and co-researcher at the Cambridge University Zoological Museum, said in a statement Monday.
“The giant tortoise chased the chick with a tree and eventually killed the chick,” said Kerlach, who led the study, which was released Monday. Rivista Current Biology.
“It was a very slow encounter. The turtle was moving at its normal slow pace; the whole contact took seven minutes and it was horrible.”
An “experienced” turtle hunter?
Anna Zora, Fragate Island’s security manager and co – author of the study, captured the test in July 2020.
“When I saw the turtle moving in a strange way, I sat down and started recording when I realized what I was doing,” Zora said in the statement.
Jerlach told CNN that he had “experience” with the way the tortoise moved towards the chick.
“He’s moving very deliberately; he’s not wandering around, he’s looking straight at this chick, he’s clear with the intention of doing something. He’s instructing me that he’s doing it on purpose.
Although turtles are believed to be vegetarians, they can be found “opportunistically” eating carrion and snail bones and shells in search of calcium.
“It’s very common for plant foods to eat some dead animals as a source of free protein. But this is the first video evidence of them being deliberately killed for food,” he said.
However, the team could not say for sure how common this behavior is among turtles and plans to study them further.
Turtles, traditionally flora
Giant turtles are the largest plant species in the Galapagos and Seychelles, eating 11% of the plants, the researchers said. Gerlach said turtle behavior is unlikely to significantly affect the population of this type of chick.
Experts say the new hunting behavior was triggered by a “unusual” combination of large turtles and woodpecker-swallowing colonies on the Seychelles Frogate Island, home to about 3,000 turtles.
This is not the first time that unusually deadly attacks have been observed among wild animal species. In 2019 Chimpanzees were seen killing gorillas in the wild For the first time.
“It is probably not uncommon for animals to surprise our expectations by eating unusual things,” Kerlach explained.
“We should try to avoid many assumptions about what animals are going to do or what they are doing. It really shows the value of observation. , “He said.