The aldabra giant tortoise, previously thought to be strictly herbivorous, was observed first chasing its chicks and then eating them by dropping them.
The Guardian wrote online that scientists say the reptile in the Seychelles is the first known example of a herbivorous animal hunting wild animals.
The recording was done in July 2020 on a member of the archipelago named Fregate. You can see this as a female giant tortoise slowly chases a young brown nodite (Anus stolidus), slapping it until it eventually snaps the bird’s head between its jaws. Can’t manage to get it.
The privately owned Frigate Island, which is used for ecotourism, is home to about three thousand giant tortoises. The Seychelles giant tortoise belongs to the species Aldabrachelli gigantea, “generally considered to be strictly herbivorous,” reads Current Biology.
Justin Gerlach, a scientist at the University of Cambridge Zoological Museum and lead author of the study, said that
This behavior was completely unexpected, they had never been seen before by wild giant tortoises.
Previously, all turtles were herbivores, although it was sometimes observed that they ate animal carcasses, bones or shells of snails due to their calcium content.
After a massive restoration of their habitats, the seabirds moved back to the island, which is now home to about 265,000 brown noddy. These birds “scatter the soil from the fallen fish, the chicks fall from their nests.”
In most places, potential prey animals run away too fast or too efficiently so that the giant tortoise can’t catch them.
However, scientists say the turtle’s movement on the image suggests that such interactions often take place there.
In the Seychelles and Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises are the largest herbivores, eating up to 11 percent of vegetation.
According to Gerlach, Fregate Island today has brown bodies that nest in trees and an unusual coexistence of giant tortoises. They highlighted that when habitat ecosystems are restored, completely unexpected interactions between species may emerge that may have been common in the past, but researchers have never encountered before.
It is clear from the shot that the tortoise enjoys the bird’s nest, although it causes a lot of trouble compared to how easy it is to eat the plant.” she added.
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