A giant tortoise remarkably hunts, kills, and eats a bird

Researchers on Frégate Island in the Seychelles noticed a giant tortoise behaving unusually, stalking a tern chick as if it wanted to eat the bird. So one of the scientists turned on the camera, and minutes later, the tortoise — normally a vegetarian — bit the bird's head and killed it.

Even more astounding, the reptile then ate the bird (which, in the YouTube video below, is blocked from our view by banner ads — for better or worse, depending on how animal-sensitive a viewer you are.

"What we report is clearly hunting," one of the researchers, Justin Gerlach, said in the video. "It was a very slow encounter, with the tortoise moving at its normal, slow-walking pace — the whole interaction took seven minutes and was quite horrifying."

Gerlach said that on Frégate, they've seen several tortoises catching tern chicks, and that it seems to be a new behavior. "This is completely unexpected behavior and has never been seen before in wild tortoises," he said, adding that the behavior has "developed as the terns have recolonized the island."