Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

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saleenadam
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Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by saleenadam »

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:
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Turtle 1
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Turtle 2 head end
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Turtle 2 tail end
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txherper
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by txherper »

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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John Martin
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by John Martin »

Fantastic observation!! :thumb: Would've never guessed.

Jimi
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by Jimi »

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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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by chris_mcmartin »

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.

Bobbleton
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by Bobbleton »

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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justinm
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by justinm »

From what I understand they are known to "hunt" more than their close cousins the Turkey Vulture.

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Natalie McNear
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by Natalie McNear »

Someone please send a few hundred Black Vultures to California. Thx.

Shane_TX
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Re: Black vultures preying on live red eared sliders

Post by Shane_TX »

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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