Seagulls Have a Gruesome New Way of Attacking Baby Seals
Kelp gulls are eating the eyeballs from newborn Cape fur seals—a behavior never before seen in nature, a new study says.
Seagulls have developed a hunting strategy never before seen in the animal world—eating the eyeballs of live seal pups, a new study says.
During the past 15 years, scientists have logged around 500 instances of kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) attacking and attempting to eat the eyeballs of newborn Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) in Namibia’s coastal Dorob National Park (map).
Since blinded seals can't find help from other seals and easily succumb to more attacks, the birds have discovered removing eyeballs is an especially efficient way to get a meal.
The behavior seems to be entirely new to science—if a little tough to stomach, says study lead author Austin Gallagher, a postdoctoral researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa,