Vultures Can Eat Disease and Shit Bleach

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As we’ve discussed before and contrary to popular opinion, vultures are remarkably clean creatures that are noted as playing an important, albeit unsavoury, role in the ecosystem. Mainly that of an organic dustbin that removes carrion and more importantly, disease from an environment. Something facilitated by the vultures uncanny ability to eat batteries and shit bleach.

Just to be clear, none of that is hyperbole and is in fact, sort of an understatement that downplays just how potent a digestive system the average vulture possesses. For example consider that the average pH of the stomach acid found in a vulture’s digestive system sits just a hair over 0 whereas the stomach acid of a human is around 2. Now while this might not sound like a big difference it’s worth noting that the pH scale is logarithmic meaning that a vulture’s stomach acid is anywhere from 100 to 1000 times stronger than ours. Which, well, is pretty terrifying to think about.

So what does this mean in practical terms? Well, to put it simply it allows vultures to eat basically anything regardless of how rotten and more importantly, brimming with disease and turds it is. For this reason vultures are known as “dead-end hosts” because their digestive system outright kills pretty much all disease known to fester in a rotten corpse and several that scientists have dumped on carrion just to see what would happen. Spoilers, not a lot.

For example, experts have fed vultures meat laced with anthrax and even rabies (which has a literal 100% mortality rate in humans) and they’ve been totally fine. The same is true of countless parasites and illness-causing bacterium, none of which are known to be able to give a vulture as much as a tummy ache. Let alone cause any lasting harm.

Then you have the fact that vultures can digest pretty much anything allowing them to gain sustenance from bones that been baked in the blazing sun, excrement and even rocks covered in blood. If it has calories, a vulture can eat it and hell, even if it doesn’t a vulture could eat it anyway because it’s stomach acid would tear through it in a matter of minutes or hours. Meaning it’s theoretical possible for a vulture to eat, digest and then shit out a car battery.

Speaking of, the excrement of a vulture is similarly caustic to the point it’s considered a potent antiseptic in its own right. Capable of sterilising the literal shit out of both the vulture and anything within shitting on distance. While the primary purpose of this is to clean the vulture’s legs, it has the secondary effect of further preventing the spread of disease from the carrion it’s feeding from.

Something vultures are seemingly aware of and in some cases, weaponise, generally shitting and pissing all over carrion the moment they find it to ensure nothing else can eat it and, in the rare event something tries to get them, projectile vomitting in a potential predator’s direction.

Artist’s impression.

And all this so they can eat the animal kingdom equivalent of the Big Mac you left in a microwave last week.