Tag Archives | vultures

How Vultures Can Eat Rotting Flesh Without Getting Sick

Turkey Vulture  Linda Tanner (CC BY 2.0)

Turkey Vulture
Linda Tanner (CC BY 2.0)

via Live Science:

Vultures’ faces and large intestines are covered with bacteria that is toxic to most other creatures, but these birds of prey have evolved a strong gut that helps them not get sick from feasting on rotting flesh, according to a new study.

In the first analysis of bacteria living on vultures, the study’s researchers found that these scavengers are laden with flesh-degrading Fusobacteria and poisonous Clostridia. As bacteria decompose a dead body, they excrete toxic chemicals that make the carcass a perilous meal for most animals. But vultures often wait for decay to set in, giving them easy access to dead animals with tough skins.

Moreover, vultures will often pick at a dead animal through its back end — that is, the anus — to get at the tasty entrails. Their diet may be filled with toxic bacteria and putrid feces, but vultures are apparently immune to these deadly microbes, the researchers said.

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Vultures vs. Zombies

National Wildlife Federation’s naturalist David Mizejewski talks about vultures in this new episode of Zombies vs Team Wildlife.

Many birds feed themselves by scavenging on dead things. A sluggish zombie wouldn’t stand a chance against one or a flock of vultures.

National Wildlife Federation works on protecting wildlife and wild places for our children’s future. To learn more go to here.

h/t Boing Boing.

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Sudan Claims it Captured Israeli ‘Spy Vulture’

Picture: Tony Hisgett (CC)

From Predator Drones to Scavenger Birds: Could Israel be using vulture intelligence agents?

Via YNET:

Sudanese media was a buzz Thursday, with news saying that Darfur authorities had captured a vulture carrying Israeli spy gear.

The suspect bird was found to be tagged with an Israeli GPS chip and a leg band labeled “Israel Nature Service” and “Hebrew University, Jerusalem.”

Khartoum’s media claimed that the device was capable of taking photos and sending them back to Israel; but Israel’s National Parks Service dismissed the allegation, saying that both the band and the GPS chip were nothing more than standard migration trackers.

Tensions between Israel and Sudan have been high since a mysterious airstrike leveled a major weapons manufacturing compound in Khartoum in October. Sudan blamed Israel for the raid. Jerusalem has remained mum on the subject.

The Opposition in Sudan was quick to mock the “spy bird” find: The country’s Justice and Equality Movement featured the news on its website, asking: “How is it possible that the regime was able to detect one vulture, but was unable to detect the jets that bombed the arms facility?”

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