I am terrible for half remembering weird facts and saying things like, apparently *spouts random fact*, I am not sure where I read it, or if I have it completely right, but something along those lines. That’s like telling no fact at all! Come on Laura!
To make myself pay more attention to random facts I discover, rather than just thinking that’s weird, moving on, and getting all the basic information wrong when I try to repeat the fact to someone else, I thought that I could pay more attention and write the odd blog post about them.
I asked for a subscription to National Geographic for Christmas. The occasional things that I had read in there seemed pretty interesting and you can get it for a reasonable price if you look around for a deal. I wanted the subscription because it can be so easy to forget that there is so much else going on in the world than what is just going on around me and what gets shown on the news. Sometimes I want to get out of my bubble.
This month’s issue gave me a new appreciation for vultures.
They get a bad rep. They’re ugly, they hover ominously over characters in films when they’re in mortal peril; they are usually portrayed as a bit unpleasant.
Some parts of the article I read seemed to back up this assumption. Some of the photos made me feel a bit ill, and there is a wonderfully graphic description of how vultures go about stripping a corpse until it is almost a skeleton. Let’s just say that sometimes the vultures cannot always pierce the skin of the animal they are trying to eat, so if there is no big wound on the animal they have to get into it through other, pre-existing, holes.
Yeah, they’re a bit disgusting.
But did you know that they mate for life? For some reason I always think it is adorable if animals do this. Plus, they rarely actually kill animals themselves.
They are also pretty important to whatever environment they’re in. The fact that they eat up most of the dead body means that there are fewer insects buzzing about and it stops the spread of disease because most germs get killed off in their super-strong stomachs. It also prevents a decomposing body lying around, which is generally a good thing.
What vultures do is pretty unpleasant, and they have evolved some pretty unpleasant features in order to do it; but things would be a lot worse without them.
Thanks vultures, high five!
Facts that inspired this vulture love taken from January 2016’s National Geographic. The article is here, if your appetite for vulture knowledge has been whetted (be warned: some not nice pictures)