Tortoise Eats a Rattlesnake – Killer or Scavenger?

Tortoises are cute, harmless critters, right? They have those beady little eyes, and they move slower than your Great Aunt Marge. Well, that stereotype might be outdated. Reddit user GimmeWafflez posted an unsettling photo in r/WTF that will make you rethink your views about tortoises.

In the photo, an unspecified species of tortoise appears to be dining on a deadly rattlesnake:

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Now, the title claims the tortoise “killed” the rattlesnake, but considering most tortoises are strictly herbivores and can only properly digest plant matter, it is probably a slight exaggeration.

But it could very well be eating the rattlesnake, since some tortoises are omnivorous and will scavenge meat or eat insects and worms.

To further support this, in another, older post in r/WTF, a group of tortoises rips flesh off a small mammal, which appears to be a rat or some other rodent. Admittedly, r/WTF is not the most reliable source, but that doesn’t mean this photo is a fake.

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If that doesn’t shatter your perceptions of tortoises, you might want to check out this video. Contrary to beliefs that tortoises are docile, peaceful animals, they are not immune to aggression. In the Seychelles, an explorer named Paul Rose interrupts a pair of mating tortoises, and the male tortoise is not happy. Plodding across the ground, he pursues Paul and the cameraman to the very edge of his territory.

See for yourself in the video below.

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