Turkey Vultures and Me

Andrea Westmoreland/Creative Commons

Check out my article in the latest issue of This Land:


Winter 2016 – This Land Press:

TWO WAYS OF LOOKING AT A TURKEY VULTURE Gordon Grice contemplates the morbid beauty of circling scavengers.


6 comments:

  1. I read that vultures, precisely because of their strictly necrophagous diet, have a very strong immune system. After all, if this were not the case, they would take who knows how many dangerous infections.
    For the same reasaon, I suppose that being injured by a beak of a vulture exposes the victim to a risk of infection far greater than being wounded by an animal that is not necrophagous.
    What's your opininon, Gordon?

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    1. Interesting question! We know that scratches from big cats are septic because they're often caked with decaying flesh. I'm not sure the same logic applies to a vulture's beak, however. As far as I know, the beak doesn't really hold accretions of meat. So I'm guessing it might not be much worse than any other unsterilized sharp instrument. Fortunately, vulture attacks are extremely rare.

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  3. "We know that scratches from big cats are septic because they're often caked with decaying flesh."
    I read, but I don't remembere where, that - among big cats - scrathes from jaguar are the most septic.

    "Fortunately, vulture attacks are extremely rare."
    Thank goodness! Imagine what it could do to a human a voracious flock of vultures.

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    1. That's interesting about jaguars--I didn't know that.

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  4. If that's true, maybe it depends on the kind of preys of jaguars: peccaries, tapirs, turtles, caimans, armadillos, monkeys, deers, snakes, birds etc. etc. .
    It's estimated that the jaguar's diet accounts at least 87 species!

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