Taking the giant tortoise as an example, its hunting behavior seems to be a collision of ecological quirks. The terns nest in the trees on Fregate Island, which is both a tropical rain forest and a dense forest. But the ground is home to other predators, such as lizards and crabs. This means that the forest floor is full of lava for any chicken that cannot escape danger. The bird’s instinct tells it to perch in a tree—at all costs. This is why in the video, when the tortoise approaches, you can see it back down along the branches instead of jumping into the fallen leaves and fleeing. “You have a source of meat, but it is also something the tortoise can’t escape—and almost anything Run faster than a tortoise,” Gerlach said. “Because it is a tree nest, it wants to stay away from the ground, because the ground is where all the danger lies. ”
Fighting that seems unfair is actually quite dangerous for the tortoise. It has a thick shell to protect its body, but its eyes are exposed. The chick pecks as if its life depends on it, because it likes it very much. “They don’t like things close to their eyes,” Gerlach said. “They are very careful about this-this is the only vulnerable part of them. So this turtle is actually putting itself in danger.” Losing one eye makes survival more difficult-losing two eyes, You will die soon.
Well, this is not an easy meal, nor is it just opportunism. Gerlach said that the tortoise is hunting, as if it knows what it is doing, it supports the chick until it reaches the edge of the log, and the instinct of the bird tells it not to go any further.
But can the tortoise’s digestive system even handle meat? “No one has seen this at all,” Gerlach said. “They don’t eat meat—why do you want to watch?”
Nevertheless, since some degree of elimination is common in herbivores, he believes that they must be able to extract amino acids and minerals from meat. After all, he said, animal protein is relatively easy to digest. “Digesting plant matter is evolutionarily difficult to do,” he said, because plants are made of tough materials such as cellulose.
Gregory Pauly, the curator of herpetology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, was not involved in this new paper. He said that the tragedy of a chick is actually a promising sign for the birds of the entire Fregate Island. This means that the birds are back and the tortoise is happy to take advantage. He wrote in an email to Wired magazine: “Due to habitat destruction, the introduction of species such as rats and large herbivorous mammals, and human exploitation, the number of tortoises and the number of birds in this area has increased. Decline.” “Therefore, until recently, as the number of birds recovering and working in their habitat rebounded, there was no chance of observing the described predatory interaction.”
How many turtles will hunt like this? How often do they do it? “We really don’t know if this is just an interesting observation, or if it is actually a really significant development in the island’s tortoise ecology and the island’s ecology,” Gerlach said. “So we are in the’many problems’ stage.”
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