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 Post subject: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 2:59 pm 

Joined: July 26th, 2010, 6:47 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Texas
Went out for some herping today and came across something i've never seen before-groups of black vultures (Coragyps atratus) preying on live red eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans). In 1-1/2 hours I came across three instances of it happening along this bayou where the turtles seemed to be moving from ponds up in the woods down to the bayou or vice-versa. Each time I saw a pack of vultures pecking away at something from a distance and when I got there found a live and bleeding red eared slider. Took each turtle to the water and they swam away but there were a LOT of dead red eared sliders around the bayou and i'm thinking this could be the cause of their deaths.

Vultures pecking away at turtle:
Image

Turtle 1
Image

Turtle 2 head end
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Turtle 2 tail end
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 4:18 pm 

Joined: February 25th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 63
I looked up black vultures one time because a guy had told me he saw one carrying a live snake and i didn't believe him. The book says of black vultures (but not of turkey vultures) "occasionally kills and eats prey."


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 6:24 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 9:57 pm
Posts: 395
Location: Ohio, then Arizona, now South Australia
Fantastic observation!! :thumb: Would've never guessed.


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 18th, 2013, 10:11 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1104
Black vultures are intelligent and interesting birds. Occasionally they are quite troublesome to livestock producers. They can learn to kill healthy calves by attacking them at the nether end of the digestive tract, and working inward. Those vultures get shot.

So it isn't surprising to me that some have learned to attack turtles. Perhaps one of these individuals came across a live, injured turtle (on a road??? at a fishing spot???) and made a meal of it. Perhaps his friends saw the success and were envious. Then maybe they made the leap to attacking healthy turtles.

Might sound crazy but...life is full of surprises.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 9:06 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 11:13 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: A Sovereign TX Enclave in the Greater Kansas City Area
Jimi wrote:
They can learn to kill healthy calves by attacking them at the nether end of the digestive tract, and working inward.


This is why, no matter how hot the weather, I wear heavy denim pants in the field.


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 10:46 am 

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 6:03 pm
Posts: 73
Jimi wrote:
Black vultures are intelligent and interesting birds. Occasionally they are quite troublesome to livestock producers. They can learn to kill healthy calves by attacking them at the nether end of the digestive tract, and working inward. Those vultures get shot.


Now I find that VERY interesting. I saw this earlier in the year . . . clearly more going on than I thought.
Image
Black vulture (2) by Coastal Plain Conservation, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 11:29 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Posts: 3318
Location: Illinois
From what I understand they are known to "hunt" more than their close cousins the Turkey Vulture.


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 10:25 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:54 pm
Posts: 1146
Location: Northern coast of California
Someone please send a few hundred Black Vultures to California. Thx.


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 Post subject: Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 7:24 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:44 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Upper TX Coast
Thanks for posting this!

I was a bit surprised to see a recently dead RES on its back and nothing eaten to speak of. My first thought was that it baked in the sun and a racoon played with it, but that didn't make much sense at this time of year and very close to several water bodies. Hundreds of vultures frequent that area......

Shane


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