Researchers at the University of Exeter say pesky seagulls at holiday vacation spots tend to be deterred somewhat from stealing your food when you just stare at them. Yep, maintaining hostile eye contact with a gull may deter them from snarfing your french fries.
"The research showed that with a human staring at them, herring gulls took 21 seconds longer to approach a bag of chips then when left apparently unobserved," Reports Reuters:
"Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn't even come near during our tests," said lead author Madeleine Goumas, of the Center for Ecology and Conservation at Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
The researchers tried to test 74 gulls but most flew away or would not approach. Just 27 approached the food and 19 completed the "looking at" and "looking away" tests.
"Of those that did approach, most took longer when they were being watched," Goumas said. "Some wouldn't even touch the food at all, although others didn't seem to notice that a human was staring at them."
Staring at seagulls can stop them stealing food, research shows [Guy Faulconbridge/Reuters]