Tiny vampire bugs devour turtles and snakes by sucking their insides out alive

Tiny water bugs are one of nature's deadliest predators devouring frogs, turtles, ducks and even venomous snakes, stunned scientists have discovered.

A shocking new study revealed the fearless four-inch aquatic vampire-like "monsters" regularly take on and eat creatures up to ten times their size.

They are what's known as “lie-and-wait predators,” said Charles Swart, a senior lecturer at Trinity College in Connecticut who has studied the killer insects for years.


“They just take up a position holding onto a plant in the water, and anything that moves in front of them, they’ll grab it and try to eat it,” he said.

The amazing new research -  published in the latest edition of the journal Entomological Science -  takes a closer look at the hunting skills of the bugs.

The largest of the 150 species -  Lethocerus grandis and Lethocerus maximus - are found in South America and have an incredible appetite.

(Credit: Shin-ya Ohba)

Study author Shin-ya Ohba, associate entomology professor at Japan's Nagasaki University, says the bugs are super strong - despite their tiny size.

He said their front legs are "Popeye" like and the bugs have even been known to use their incredible power to take down a turtle.

Once prey comes within reach, the predators quickly snap their front legs tight and grasp the creature with their other legs.

They then pierce their prey with a dagger-like proboscis, injecting enzymes and possibly toxins into their unfortunate victims, reports the National Geographic.

Swart, who wasn’t involved in the latest study, added: “They break down the tissue and then they suck it back up.”

(Credit: Shin-ya Ohba)

In larger prey, this can take several hours for at least part of which the poor victim will still be alive.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.