Lorikeets are cute, colorful parrots that typically eat pollen and nectar. But some populations have also developed a taste for flesh. The species’ carnal appetite was discovered when a birdwatcher in Australia set out minced meat for omnivorous and carnivorous birds. Although he also set out foodstuffs for avian vegetarians, he noticed that the lorikeets were eating the meat. They even tried to scare off other birds who wanted a taste.
It turns out there are loads of “herbivorous” animals who eat meat when they get the chance–lorikeets are just the most recently reported example. Scientists aren’t sure why these alleged vegetarians sometimes eat meat. It could be pathological, or it could be related to the animal’s nutritional deficiencies in salt, iron, or protein. Over at Slate, writer Jackson Landers suggests it could be a matter of environmental upheaval. In other words, when humans and climate change alter habitats and food supplies, fortune favors animals that aren’t picky eaters.
Check out the gallery below to find which other species might haunt your nightmares tonight.