Deer in Costa Rica gnaw on sea turtle bones


White-tailed deer in the Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica have been spotted regularly chewing on sea turtle bones. The behaviour may be an attempt to boost nutrient intake


26 July 2022

A white-tailed deer munches on a sea turtle bone

Some white-tailed deer munch on sea turtle bones

Jaguar Research Program of the National University of Costa Rica

Some white-tailed deer on the Costa Rican coastline have a macabre habit: chewing sea turtle bones. Researchers have recently documented scores of the herbivores scavenging on the remains, possibly to augment their uptake of key minerals.

Brayan Morera at the National University of Costa Rica and his colleagues were studying jaguars and their prey using motion-activated cameras set up throughout Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Conservation Area. Along some parts of the coastline, jaguars regularly kill and eat nesting sea turtles, leaving a carcass …

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