“Vegetarian” Giant Tortoise Attacks and Eats Seabird As Horrified Researchers Film

Credit: Anna Zora

Researchers have captured on film the moment when a Seychelles giant tortoise, Aldabrachelys gigantea, attacked and ate a tern chick. This is the first documentation of deliberate hunting in any wild tortoise species.
The hunting tortoise was seen in July 2020 on Frégate Island, a privately owned island in the Seychelles group managed for ecotourism, where around 3,000 tortoises live. Other tortoises in the same area have been seen making similar attacks.

“The whole interaction took seven minutes and was quite horrifying.” — Justin Gerlach

“This is completely unexpected behavior and has never been seen before in wild tortoises,” said …