So slow , but sure of its success, this giant turtle of Aldabra ( Aldabrachelys gigantea ) seizes his prey: a baby bird. Thanks to this video, we now know that these giant tortoises also eat birds. Or, at least, that is what the researchers who have captured the images propose; since it does not seem something casual or unique.
In the video we see a female giant tortoise walking slowly and throwing bites towards its possible prey, which is on a log. The victim is a baby that cannot fly of tinea picofina ( Anous tenuirostris ) that, although it does not appear in the images, had just fallen out of the nest, as explained from the Agency SINC .
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” said University of Cambridge biologist Justin Gerlach , as collected Science Alert . “It was horrifying and amazing at the same time.”
for the first time hunting birds
At study published in the scientific journal Current Biology is explained as the “first documented observation of a turtle deliberately attacking and consuming another animal.” In fact, the hunt lasted about seven minutes , including the moment the video captures, which barely lasts two minutes and shows the final blow that ends with the baby bird.
“I looked directly at the tinea picofina and walked towards the baby,” he adds. “This was very, very strange. And totally different from normal turtle behavior “. Or, at least, the behavior that we consider normal . Because this recording opens the doors to get to know these giant tortoises better.
In fact, from what we know so far of the TO. gigantea is that they are “mainly herbivorous”. However, it is not the first time that they have eaten other animals. What’s more, in the study itself, the researchers say that “there have been anecdotal reports of turtles crushing crabs with their shells “. But also of other animals that although they are “mainly herbivores” have eaten “birds” or “consume carrion”.
The place where the video was recorded is the forests of Fregate Island, in the Seychelles , archipelago off the coast from Somalia and Kenya. Pictures were taken by Anna Zora , deputy director of conservation and sustainability of the Fregate Island Foundation.
In short , despite the fact that we believe that we already know everything about the animals we live with on Earth; once again nature surprises us again. And we still have a lot to learn about giant tortoises.