Ahh nature. So beautiful. So majestic. So utterly terrifying. You remember the praying mantis right? Did you know it eats bird brains?!
Earlier this week, the University of Basel in Switzerland put out a press release titled, "Praying Mantises Hunt Down Birds Worldwide." Mantises are carnivores who mostly feed on other insects and spiders, but now scientists from Switzerland and the U.S. have discovered that they also kill and eat small birds on every continent but Antartica.
As if it wasn't terrifying enough that a praying mantis can take down a bird, wait until you hear HOW they eat them.
Newsweek interviewed two scientists to find out how exactly mantises manage to take down birds. State University of New York at Fredonia biologist William Brown explained that a mantises typically grab birds by the head, and then "pierce the skull to feed on brain tissue."
"They just hold [their prey], and they eat them while they are still alive, slowly and slowly until there is nothing left," retired ecologist Dietrich Mebs chimed in.
So praying mantises eat birds about the same way that zombies eat humans? LOVELY!
According to Live Science, researchers determined this was a global phenomenon by searching through records (like published studies, academic papers, and social media posts) of mantises preying on birds. They found 147 examples in 13 different countries, the earliest dating back to 1864. 24 species of birds were identified as mantis prey.
If you haven't been sufficiently disturbed and you'd like to see photos of a praying mantises eating bird brains, you can check out the University of Basel's press release here.
Enjoy your nightmares!