Gulls’ Love Of Baby Seal Poop Leads To Gouged Butts

For gulls in Chilean Patagonia, seal pup poop laced with parasitic hookworms is a tasty treat. But the eager birds are snapping up their meals just a little too near to the pups, to the detriment of the seals’ tender rear ends, scientists discovered.

During routine exams of the South American fur seal pups (Arctocephalus australis) living on Guafo Island, researchers were puzzled by unusual wounds they found in the young animals’ perineal area — around the anus.

Observations later revealed that gulls feeding on the pups’ poo approached too close for comfort, jabbing their sharp beaks into the seals’ bottoms, and creating gouges that sometimes led to serious infections, according to a new study.




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