Canada has always been known to have an abundance of wildlife, especially in northern regions where there is less disruptive human influence and more natural habitat for these wild animals to flourish. Tourists come from around the world to travel across the country and admire breathtaking species that are incredibly rare or specific to the great white north.
TL;DR The University of Alberta conducted a study that reveals animals known to be herbivores would choose to eat meat when given the opportunity. In extreme cases, the animals would even resort to cannibalism. More details below.
You'd also think that by now scientists wouldn't have much new information to report. The animal life cycle and balance typically stay the same, right? Well, a University of Alberta study has just proven that wrong.
Many assume that the snowshoe hare, an incredibly common animal across Canada in areas such as the Yukon Territory, keeps a vegan diet. This makes sense since rabbits are usually the ones hunted by larger predators. Well, the new Canadian study found that these adorable critters will actually eat whatever meat they can get their hands (or paws) on.
Researchers even discovered that meat was a normal part of the diet for a snowshoe hare. The study was conducted by leaving various roadkill outside. The results revealed that at least 15% of the carcasses were actually feasted on by the animals.
That's not even the worst of it though. These animals were also voluntarily eating their own kind. So yes, these adorable little bunnies are actually cold-hearted cannibals.
They were also caught eating larger prey, such as lynx and birds. Not only would multiple hares show up at the same time to eat the roadkill, but scientists believed they would also fight with each other over the food source.
The study comes to the conclusion that herbivores will choose to eat meat quite often whenever they can easily do so. Similar studies also found that "vegan" animals such as white-tailed deer and beavers would choose meat-inclusive diets as well.
In 2015, two white-tailed deer were found feasting on a decaying human body, despite lacking sharp teeth or even requiring meat as a part of their diet. So, next time you're on a camping trip or passing through a forested area and stumble upon some deer, you might look at them a bit differently knowing that if you suddenly died they might not hesitate to take a chomp on your corpse.
Could vegan animals be transitioning into carnivores? Will they all eventually become cannibals? Unlikely. Although the study is pretty terrifying.