This Tortoise Has a Taste for Blood | SciShow News | Summary and Q&A

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August 27, 2021
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This Tortoise Has a Taste for Blood | SciShow News

TL;DR

Tortoises, traditionally thought of as herbivores, have been observed hunting and eating baby birds, challenging previous beliefs about their diet. Additionally, a study found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be traced in the dental plaque of preserved bear specimens, highlighting the environmental impact of human antibiotic use.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the significance of the video capturing a tortoise hunting and eating a baby bird?

The video provides the first direct evidence of tortoises engaging in deliberate hunting behavior, challenging previous beliefs about their diet and shedding light on their ecological role as potential predators.

Q: How did the conservation efforts on Frégate Island contribute to the rarity of observing this behavior?

The recovery of tortoise and seabird populations through conservation efforts created an environment where tortoises have the opportunity to develop new behaviors, such as hunting chicks, which may have been less common when their populations were endangered.

Q: Why do herbivorous animals occasionally eat animal-based foods?

Animals like deer and cattle may consume animal-based foods when their local vegetation lacks certain nutrients or during periods of high energy demands, like mating season.

Q: What did the bear spit study reveal about antibiotic resistance?

The study found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria can persist in preserved bear specimens' dental plaque. It showed an increase in resistance levels coinciding with the widespread use of antibiotics in Sweden, highlighting the environmental spread of resistant bacteria.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • A video captured the first documented instance of a giant tortoise deliberately hunting and eating prey, challenging the notion that tortoises are strictly vegetarian.

  • Conservation efforts on Frégate Island have led to the recovery of tortoise and seabird populations, potentially facilitating the development of new behaviors like chick-hunting among tortoises.

  • Herbivorous animals, including deer and cattle, have been known to supplement their diet with animal-based foods, which can provide additional nutrients.

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