Vegetarian tortoise attacks and eats bird in ‘horrifying’ video

Watch out for tortoises.

While it’s been believed that tortoises are vegetarian, a newly released video seems to suggest otherwise. According to researchers, changes in the environment may have caused certain animals to change their behaviors.

Footage filmed on Fregate Island in the Indian Ocean shows a tortoise attacking and then eating a tern chick. Cambridge University released the video on various platforms, where it called out the odd behavior for a supposedly ‘vegetarian’ animal.

Dr. Justin Gerlach, who is a director of studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge and an affiliated researcher at the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology, led

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Giant tortoise kills seabird in horrifying video: Vegetarian no more?

TikTok has nothing on these researchers who captured on video for the first time a giant tortoise, long thought to be a vegetarian, grabbing a meaty snack.

Giant tortoises are massive animals; males can weigh more than 700 pounds. They devour a lot of greens, primarily grasses and leaves, and can eat up to 11% of the vegetation in their home turf, so to speak.

But Anna Zora, a conservation manager at the private Frégate Island in the Seychelles Islands, was observing birds in July 2020 and happened upon a tortoise stalking a tern chick on a log and decided

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‘Horrifying’: Giant tortoise filmed hunting down and eating baby bird

This female tortoise hunted down and ate a seabird chick.


Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Giant tortoises have a reputation as slow-moving vegetarians that snack on grasses and fruits. Video captured by researchers is changing the way we think about these heavy land animals. Still slow? Pretty much. Vegetarian? Not always. 

The video comes from Fregate Island in the Indian Ocean. The island in the Seychelles is privately owned and hosts ecotourists who come for the beaches and to view the birds and wildlife, including a population of over 3,000 free-roaming giant tortoises. Some of those tortoises are into hunting

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Giant tortoise gives up vegetarian lifestyle in ‘horrifying’ carnivorous attack on chick

TikTok has nothing on these researchers who captured on video for the first time a giant tortoise, long thought to be a vegetarian, grabbing a meaty snack.

Giant tortoises are massive animals; males can weigh more than 700 pounds. They devour a lot of greens, primarily grasses and leaves, and can eat up to 11% of the vegetation in their home turf, so to speak.

But Anna Zora, a conservation manager at the private Frégate Island in the Seychelles Islands, was observing birds in July 2020 and happened upon a tortoise stalking a tern chick on a log and decided

Read more

Scientists Believed This Giant Tortoise Was Vegetarian, Then Filmed It Hunting a Tern Chick

Researchers have caught an extraordinary event on camera: a Seychelles giant tortoise killing and eating a tern chick.


The incident, documented in the journal Current Biology Monday, is so surprising because tortoises are generally assumed to be vegetarians.

“This is completely unexpected behaviour and has never been seen before in wild tortoises,” study leader Dr. Justin Gerlach, director of studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge and affiliated researcher at the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology, said in a Cambridge press release.


‘Vegetarian’ giant tortoise filmed attacking and eating seabird

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The video shows the tortoise slowly stalking the tern

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‘Horrifying’ video captures tortoise eating baby bird

A Seychelles giant tortoise apparently defied its historically plant-based diet when it was spotted snacking on a baby bird — a “horrifying” moment, scientists said.

Ecological researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology caught the disturbing incident on video, which occurred in July 2020 on Frégate Island in the Indian Ocean.

“This is completely unexpected behavior and has never been seen before in wild tortoises,” said lead researcher Justin Gerlach, director of studies at Peterhouse Cambridge college, in a statement on Monday, according to CNN.

“The giant tortoise pursued the tern chick along a log, finally killing

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