This gory subreddit shows just how brutal nature is — and I love it – The Verge

The first time I heard of Nature is Brutal, it was in the context of cat necrophilia. See, I had friends over to grill sausages in the backyard, and the conversation turned to feral cats. My yard has a pretty stable community of feral cats that, during the day, cuddle up cutely in chairs. At night, they turn into monsters. I hear them hiss and growl — sometimes so loud that their noises enter my dreams, turning them into nightmares. And so we got into an argument about what the cats were fighting about, territory or sex.

One of my friends was saying that the males were fighting over females, adding that cats do weird things for sex. That was when he took out his phone and showed me this GIF of feral cats mounting a dead cat. In other words, cat necrophilia. The GIF was my introduction to Nature is Brutal. I was immediately hooked.

The point of the subreddit is right there in the name: it’s for people who enjoy the gore of nature, in all its brutality. It features blood, carcasses, guts, and animals schlepping severed heads around. Understandably, not everyone goes for this kind of thing, but I find it fascinating. It’s nature uncensored. It’s what you don’t see in nature documentaries on TV because it would traumatize kids.

What I love the most are the posts’ headlines: “Hyena left with a rotting face after lion attack,” “Leopard playing with a baby impala before killing it,” “Lion looking through a hole it made in a zebras back,” “Zebras guts ripped out while still alive.” And then come the photos, GIFs, and videos. Some are outright funny, though always gory. Like this picture of two lions sticking their heads inside their dinner.

Or this cat chewing a lizard in half before the poor reptile tries to escape (in vain).

Or this gorilla just senselessly throwing a raccoon off some rocks (the raccoon seems to be doing just fine).

Or this octopus slowly inching toward its prey, before crushing it.

There’s a crab latching onto an otter’s eye, a hawk munching a heart, and “a cute feral cat eating a rabbit face.” In other words, there are enough photos and GIFs to keep you up at night. Some videos are so gut-wrenching that watching them is painful, and so I will not embed them here. You can click on them, though, and watch the horror and scream out loud in the privacy of your own home.

For example, my very favorite is this zebra getting ripped apart by a crocodile. As the zebra runs away, all its guts spill out. And well, you know what happens next. The first comment under that video is “holy fuck.” I watched this video several times because it’s terrifying. I can’t help but identify with that poor zebra in its horrible death. How awful is it to see your own intestines before dropping dead? No one should ever experience that. At the end of the video, the zebra appears to be chewing its own intestines. Why? I can’t get that picture out of my mind.

What I like about the subreddit is how brutal it is. It’s rogue nature, not the pretty fluffy stuff we studied in elementary school. Sure, it’s disgusting, but nature is disgusting because it’s true and it’s real — and it definitely feels truer than Planet Earth and the calming narrations of David Attenborough.

The gore also makes me appreciate being a Homo sapiens who can drink water without worrying about a crocodile jumping out of the pond and grabbing my nose (or trunk, as it happened to this poor baby elephant). I find it metal. But wait, there’s another subreddit for that.