Nature can be shockingly brutal. In a recent video recorded at a game preserve in South Africa, a small bird mercilessly attacked a snake, slowly pecking its eyes out. For some, it might be hard to watch. If you’ve got the stomach for it, check it out for yourself below.
According to the video’s description, the brutal scene was caught on camera by field guide Pieter van Wyk of MalaMala Game Reserve, a 33,000-acre property adjacent to the famed Kruger National Park. Van Wyk encountered the wildlife interaction on a recent outing.
“It was a sunny day, and I was taking a group of tourists out on a morning drive when I spotted the commotion. It had not even been 10 seconds into our drive,” he said. “At first, I thought it was a snake attacking a bird of some sort, but as I got closer, I realized that the bird was actually attacking the snake. The bushshrike, with its distinctive grey, yellow, and green plumage, was diving down and pecking at the boomslang, a venomous tree snake known for its bright green color.”
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Bushrikes are small birds endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa. They feed primarily on insects as well as small rodents, but that this one actively attacked a snake is striking, though van Wyk noted that it’s not unheard of. Regardless, it’s a remarkable display of aggression from such a small bird.
“We watched on for a while, and when the inevitable became clear, the guests requested we leave before the snake actually died as they could not stomach the sight,” said van Wyk. “Even though I didn’t stay to see the end of the encounter, I was still struck by the power and ferocity of the bushshrike. It is a reminder of the brutal realities of nature and the constant struggle for survival that takes place in the bush.”