The Kid Should See This

Vultures, the acid-puking, plague-busting heroes of the ecosystem

As you can imagine, this vulture-themed TED-Ed is chock-full of illustrated carcasses and bones. It also mentions diseases throughout. For viewers who don’t mind a bit of that from your scavenging-birds-of-prey-content, watch this TED-Ed lesson by Kenny Coogan: Vultures, the acid-puking, plague-busting heroes of the ecosystem.

In the African grasslands, a gazelle suffering from tuberculosis takes its last breath. The animal’s corpse threatens to infect the water, but for the vulture, this isn’t a problem: it’s a feast. With a stomach of steel that can digest diseased meat and waste, vultures are essential to removing dangerous pathogens from ecosystems.

Explore the essential role vultures play in cleaning our ecosystems and why their conservation is key to a healthy planet.

vultures with a carcass
diseased animals
Plus dig deeper for more information with TED-Ed:

Although vultures have stomachs of steel and can safely eat diseased meat that contain anthrax, pneumonia, and rabies, vultures face a range of threats in many areas that they inhabit. Much of this is caused by poachers poisoning carcasses to prevent the vultures tipping off park rangers to the death of protected rhinos or elephants. Vulture species are under pressure and many species are facing extinction. We need to save these superheroes, so in turn they can save us.

To celebrate these scavengers, check out International Vulture Awareness Day events in your area.

vulture sanctuaries
Follow this with more videos about decomposition and ecology:
Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale)
• Dead stuff, the secret ingredient in our food chain
• Why isn’t the world covered in poop?

This award-winning video collection is reader-supported. Become a sustaining member to keep TKSST online and free for everyone, including teachers and parents who use it as a resource to spark learning and curiosity for kids.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

How to make a face shield in 3 easy steps

Rion Nakaya

A blue-and-white flycatcher bathes in a Japanese bird bath

Rion Nakaya

How To See Germs Spread (Coronavirus) with Mark Rober

Rion Nakaya

The beautiful physics and math of sneezes

Rion Nakaya

The powder that can turn sludge into clean drinking water

Rion Nakaya

How does your immune system work?

Rion Nakaya

Evolutionary branching in action: Bacteria adapt to antibiotics

Rion Nakaya

Immunity and Vaccines Explained – NOVA PBS

Rion Nakaya

Social Distancing with mouse traps and ping pong balls

Rion Nakaya

Get smart curated videos delivered every week.