bioephemera

Owl kills sloth. No, really.

Sad, weird, and odd: a 1kg spectacled owl attacked, killed, and ate (part of) a defenseless three-toed sloth. Apparently the owl stabbed its talons in the sloth’s neck while it was on the way to the ground to defecate, and then pecked its organs out. I wish I was kidding.

Comments

  1. #1 tsc
    February 24, 2010

    This just in: nature is cruel. More at 11.

  2. #2 darwinsdog
    February 24, 2010

    No, nature isn’t cruel. It isn’t kind, either. It’s just what it is.

  3. #3 Jared
    February 24, 2010

    Some eagle species have a cool hunting technique which involves knocking large animals off of cliffs. There’s a youtube video of an eagle getting a meal by just kind of pushing this (looks like a goat) off the cliff.

  4. #4 Lowell
    February 24, 2010

    But wouldn’t it be just as sad if the owl hadn’t eaten prey and died of malnutrition? Why is it always sad when a predator captures prey? Can’t we shed a tear when a predator isn’t successful instead?

    Or…maybe we can just allow nature to do its thing and not put human emotions into it. That’s a novel idea.

  5. #5 AlyxL
    February 25, 2010

    It’s a bit surprising that more predators don’t eat sloths. They might be a bit hard to find, with that green algae on the coats, but surely they aren’t at all hard to catch. Do they taste bad, or something?

  6. #6 dhogaza
    February 25, 2010

    Some eagle species have a cool hunting technique which involves knocking large animals off of cliffs. There’s a youtube video of an eagle getting a meal by just kind of pushing this (looks like a goat) off the cliff.

    Probably a chamois. They’re far too heavy for an eagle to lift. I’ve seen video of an eagle gliding down, snagging one, then parachuting to its nest with young, dropping the chamois into the next, at which point of course the eagle can recover and fly up to the nest and rip it up to feed its chicks.

    Very cool.

  7. #8 RossM
    February 25, 2010

    The owl is not unique. The New Zealand mountain parrot (nestor notabilis) has been filmed perching on the back of sheep and pecking into the sheep’s kidneys. Sheep deaths have resulted.

  8. #9 Rev.Enki
    February 26, 2010

    It may not be quite as big as a sloth, but we had quite a few full grown bronze turkey hens (20+ pounds) killed by a great horned owl. It took us a while to figure that one out. Every few days we’d find another hen dead, with hardly a mark on it–just two tiny, mostly bloodless holes on either side of its skull. It never actually ate any of them (the chickens were another matter) though you could see the marks it made in the dirt as it tried to fly off with its kill.

  9. #10 Comrade PhysioProf
    February 26, 2010

    Why is that sad? The fucking owl’s gotta eat. Better that sloth than PhysioCat!

  10. #11 Jon H
    February 26, 2010

    I’ve heard about crows slowly pecking small deer, or maybe calves, to death.

    Here’s a story about ravens killing a bunch of calves: http://www.thelocal.se/19432/20090513/

  11. #12 Isabel
    February 27, 2010

    For some reason I was creeped out when I learned that Great Horned Owls prey on other owl species including Spotted Owls.

  12. #13 Jessica Palmer
    February 27, 2010

    I think it’s interesting how many people object to the word “sad.” I’m pretty sure being pecked to death Prometheus-style over a matter of hours is a pretty unpleasant end for anyone with an advanced nervous system. And just because something is natural doesn’t mean it can’t also be sad. If there is anyone here who has lost a loved one to a painful death, yet *not* experienced sadness because “death is natural,” then you scare the crap out of me. FYI.

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