Vultures seldom attack healthy animals, but may kill the wounded or sick. When a carcass has too thick a hide for its beak to open, it waits for a larger scavenger to eat first. Vast numbers have been seen upon battlefields. They gorge themselves when prey is abundant, until their crop bulges, and sit, sleepy or half torpid, to digest their food. They do not carry food to their young in their claws, but disgorge it from the crop. These birds are of great value as scavengers, especially in hot regions. Vulture stomach acid is exceptionally corrosive, allowing them to safely digest putrid carcasses infected with Botulinum toxin, hog cholera, and anthrax bacteria that would be lethal to other scavengers. New World vultures have the ability to use their corrosive vomit as a defensive projectile when threatened. New World vultures also urinate straight down their legs; the uric acid kills bacteria accumulated from walking through carcasses, and also acts as evaporative cooling.
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Famous quotes containing the word feeding:
“Injections ... are the best thing ever invented for feeding doctors.”
—Gabriel García Márquez (b. 1928)
“How did you feel feeding doughnuts to a horse? Had a kick out of it, huh? Got a big laugh. Did you ever think of feeding doughnuts to a human being? No!”
—Robert Riskin (18971955)
“Man may have his opinion as to the relative importance of feeding his body and nourishing his soul, but he is allowed by Nature to have no opinion whatever as to the need for feeding the body before the soul can think of anything but the bodys hunger.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)