In 2021, researchers captured video of a Seychelles giant tortoise pursuing and eating a tern chick in the Seychelles.
Twitter user @TheFigen_ posted the most unusual video of a deer eating a snake like a deer would eat noodles. The post, which has garnered more than 13.9 million views on the social media platform seems so bizarre and peculiar at the same time, as we know deer to be herbivores.
I saw a deer eating a snake for the first time. Don’t deer feed on grass?pic.twitter.com/DsyYjMbdIk
— Figen (@TheFigen_) June 11, 2023
For added context, the post links to a wildlife website that states that deer will eat meat if given the opportunity. The website also links to a 2015 story on Gizmodo that discusses how researchers using field cameras on nestling songbirds to determine what ate the babies and eggs of these birds, and found that white-tailed deer ate more from the bird’s nests than foxes and weasels, which are both carnivores.
These herbivorous animals may seek out meat in search of essential minerals such as calcium, salt, and phosphorus.
Back in 1981, in the Journal of Mammalogy, researcher L.A. Haverson wrote the paper “Nongame vertebrates in the diet of white-tailed deer in Texas, 62(2), 420-421.” which details how white-tailed deer in Texas consumed small animals such as invertebrates, snails and small rodents.
It is apparently not uncommon for herbivores to eat protein. In 2021, researchers captured video footage of a female Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) pursuing and eating a tern chick in the Seychelles. Researchers Justin Gerlach (director of biology studies at the University of Cambridge’s Peterhouse College) and Anna Zora (Frégate Island’s deputy conservation and sustainability manager) were in the woodlands of Frégate Island in the Seychelles when they happened upon an adult female giant tortoise, albeit very slowly but methodically, pursue a tern chick that was apparently stranded on a log.
The giant tortoise makes several attempts to bite the tern chick to no avail, until the chick, which had moved to the end of one side of the log, makes a last stand to deter the tortoise, unsuccessfully. The tortoise succeeds in grabbing the tern chick by the head and clamps down, causing the tern chick to fall off the log. While the video ends and doesn’t show the actual consuming of the bird, the tortoise does appear to move forward to consume it.
While these are interesting observations, they apparently are not uncommon and deer are known to eat meat. As such, it is a very interesting interaction.