In a gruesome turn of events, a seagull reportedly ate a man’s tongue off the sidewalk after a woman bit it off. The animal was hovering nearby when the two got into a fight.
A Disgusting Encounter
According to The Sun, the two strangers got into an argument on Edinburgh’s Leith Walk.
The man then reportedly walked toward the woman with a clenched fist, prosecutor Susan Dickson alleged. Dickson said the woman “somewhat oddly, responded to that by pushing him on the body and kissing him.”
“She kissed him on the lips and bit through his tongue, which caused a piece to be removed,” Dickson continued.
The man then walked away and spat out the piece of his tongue that had fallen off. And before he could pick it up, a large seagull swooped down and took the piece of tongue in its beak.
The man proceeded from there to the hospital, but per The Sun, his injury will stay with him for life.
Seagulls Are Opportunists
Seagulls are “adaptable opportunists,” according to Britannica, and while they’re famous for eating random food off of boardwalks across the world, their primary food sources are fish, insects, mollusks and crustaceans.
Human tongue is usually not on that list.
Herring gulls, by far the most common type of gull, are expert scavengers. They take food from other birds and even sometimes from humans. They also hunt small animals like moles and rabbits.
Herring gulls had mostly died out by the turn of the last century because their feathers were popular decorations for women’s hats. But with legal protections and the spread of open garbage dumps, the birds multiplied efficiently, to the point where today conservationists are concerned about the gulls’ effect on the nests of other types of bird.
Gulls are for the most part very intelligent birds. They have engaged in learned behaviors such as, for example, stamping their feet together as a group to mimic the sound of rainfall and trick earthworms into surfacing.
The birds have also been known to track the progress of ploughs in fields so as to find unearthed grubs. That’s just one of many ways the birds have adapted their eating habits to humans’ presence. Hopefully eating human tongues will not become another of the gulls’ learned behaviors.