For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals
Birds are one of the five well known categories of vertebrate animals on this earth, besides mammals, fish, insects, reptiles and amphibians. They are characterized by their wings and feathers and ability to fly, although not all birds can do/have all these things. Usually, when we think of the things that eat birds, we think of the normal culprits: people, other birds, and large mammals, right? Well, here are four animals that can and do eat birds, and you wouldn’t expect them to, either!
Frogs are a very polarizing creature; you either love them, or you think that they are disgusting. I happen to be the former, while my parents and most of my extended family are the latter. And I don’t blame them! They’re slimy, live in the bottom of pools, and have big gaping mouths that can be seen as creepy (unless they’re on Kermit the frog). To make them more scary for anyone frightened by frogs, they also have been spotted and photographed eating birds. Although it’s usually the other way around, frogs do have an uncanny appetite for their feathered friends. Most of the frogs that do this behavior are bullfrogs because bullfrogs tend to grow rather large for a frog and will eat practically anything, according to National Geographic. They have even been seen eating each other! There are videos online of bullfrogs eating birds whole, although I chose not to put one here for obvious reasons.
Fish, the Northern Pike in particular, have been documented eating birds. The Northern Pike is an invasive species in some waters of Alaska, and it eats nearly everything in its way. Most people know what a fish that is part of the Esox, or Pike family looks like. It is characterized by its long body, sometimes thin, but also sometimes quite large in width and girth. It is at the top of the food chain in rivers, and quickly destroys the ecosystems that it invades. Northern Pike, like frogs, will eat almost anything that they can swallow. You might think that they only eat small, riverside birds, but they can and will eat birds as large as ducks. They have small teeth that you would not want latching onto your arm, trust me!
Ants are some of the smallest insects out there, some clocking in at only 2 millimeters, like the pharaoh ant, and others growing to be about 4 centimeters, like the female bullet ant (either way, that’s tiny!). Now, a very specific type of ant has been recorded eating birds, and that’s the army ant, some of which are native to the rainforests of South America; the army ant category covers over 200 ant species, which are categorized by their tendency to go on ‘raids’, where they march across the ground or forest floor like soldiers, searching for anything to eat. They will eat basically anything in their way, which sounds familiar to a couple of other animals on this list. Most army ants will only eat baby birds and birds hatching out of their eggs that fall onto the forest floor, or have a nest there, by they can eat adult birds when they die or become incapacitated.
The spider is another insect, this time one that’s a little more notorious and feared than ants, although red ants can be quite the danger. This time, we’re focusing on the Goliath Bird-eater; from it’s name, you can tell what it does. Now, most of you probably know the story of David and Goliath, and now the word “Goliath” now means anything that’s large and strong. And the Goliath Bird-eater is! It’s the largest spider in the world, and second only to the giant huntsman spider in leg-span. They have venom in their fangs, that are large enough to pierce the skin of a human being, making them somewhat of a danger to us humans. It’s not all scary though: they mostly prey on baby birds, and only rarely go after full grown, flying birds. And, plus, it’s native to South America (so I’m safe, whew!).