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In Photos: Mice Brutally Attack and Devour Albatross on Gough Island

House mice that were introduced to Gough Island in the South Atlantic are attacking and killing both adult and baby albatross. Previously, scientists on the British island captured video showing the mice attacking and devouring Tristan albatross chicks, but this is the first evidence of the mice harming the adult birds. 

Gough island

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: C. Jones/RSPB)

Gough Island is a remote volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean that is uninhabited except for a small group of scientists who do research there. 

Baby albatross

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: M. Jones/RSPB)

Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island.

Tristan chicks

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: RSPB)

A Tristan albatross chick looking a little awkward on Gough island. 

Unwelcome visitor

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: RSPB)

A house mouse seems to be sneaking up on an albatross chick in its nest on Gough island. During the 19th century, sailors accidentally introduced the house mice to Gough Island. A century later, these mice have figured out how to exploit the island's birds. 

Double trouble

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: Ben Dilley/RSPB)

Two house mice gang up on an albatross chick minding its business. The mice are known to eat developing chicks alive; their prey include up to 19 different bird species on the island. 

Gory attack

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: Ben Dilley/RSPB)

The researchers found that these mice can attack chicks that are up to 300 times their own weight.

Brain exposed

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: RSPB)

After being attacked by house mice, this albatross chick is missing the skin covering its head and brain.

Sad sight

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: RSPB)

After an attack, a Tristan albatross chick is in bad shape. The mice are literally devouring the chicks.

Just bones

Mice are attacking and eating Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic.

(Image credit: M. Jones/RSPB)

Bones left after mice attacked and devoured albatross on Gough island.

Care required

This albatross chick is still being brooded by its parent, suggesting the chicks aren’t yet equipped to deal with the attacking house mice, the researchers said.

(Image credit: M. Jones/RSPB)

This albatross chick is still being brooded by its parent, suggesting the chicks aren’t yet equipped to deal with the attacking house mice, the researchers said.

Originally published on Live Science.

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  • dougbragdon
    Groups such as Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Island Conservation are working on projects on Gough Island and Midway Atoll to remove the invasive mice and rats and protect the albatross, as they do on other islands. They pursue this work to protect seabirds and other species beyond just the albatross species, for biodiversity (preserving IUCN red list species) and resistance to climate change( in support of multiple sustainable development goals).
    Reply
  • rp.live.s
    and who introduced it????
    There is only one tribe on this planet which is devouring everything good on this planet. Like other cultures, languages, customs, languages, societies, plants, species... list goes on.
    Mother earth is now been extremely harassed by this tribe. This tribe went out of this island and destroyed all good things on this earth.
    Reply
  • bobart
    jenna.kuhn22 said:
    and im sure they were just referring to the lively being on this EARTH!
    I don't know who was responsible for the transport, but the leader's name is "Mickey." Seriously, hope nobody decides to introduce mouse predators, like hawks or cats. Wonder how they could trap enough mice to reduce the damage?
    Reply
  • Odin
    mice are nasty, they need to be removed from ALL ecosystems, including that one.
    Reply
  • sward
    Hi folks, this thread has gone off topic and uncivil so we're locking this thread. Please remember that civility is the cornerstone of any healthy community. Our inclusive community enables all to passionately express an opinion without violating our Community standards. Personal attacks are not allowed against other members, staff, or moderators and will result in a warning or ban.

    Please keep things scientific and try to discuss the idea put forward, and not target the person behind the idea. We are scientists after all. ;)
    Reply