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Delayed post mortem predation in lightning strike carcasses: sense or nonsense?

Ryan Blumenthal


An adult giraffe was struck dead by lightning on a game farm outside Phalaborwa, South Africa in March 2014. Interestingly, delayed post-mortem predation occurred on the carcass, which according to the farm owners was an atypical phenomenon for the region. Delayed post-mortem scavenging on lightning strike carcasses has been anecdotally reported from time to time, although no formal studies have confirmed this phenomenon. The purpose of this article is to raise awareness of this phenomenon, with the view of more meticulous and scientific observations in future case studies.

Keywords: Lightning strike; delayed post mortem predation; vultures; scavengers; hyenas; South Africa