Once the snake was caught, the hawk would grip the reptile by the tail and swing the snake against either a tree or a rock and knock it unconscious before taking its prey back to the nest.

The Limerick Snake Hawk was a clinical hunter. At the zoo, the last surviving hawk never missed the sausages as they passed by, even when they were tied to the fastest greyhound. Scientists believe that if the hawk had maintained even a 60% rate of success in its hunting, instead of 100%, the species would have survived to this day. It’s ironic that a species, famed for their hunting skills, should become a victim of their own success.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided