926: Time Vulture

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Time Vulture
In a way, all vultures are Time Vultures; some just have more patience than others.
Title text: In a way, all vultures are Time Vultures; some just have more patience than others.

[edit] Explanation

This comic is about the Time Vulture, a fictional creature made up by Randall. The primary food source for vultures is carrion, or rotting meat. A Time Vulture as explained in the 3rd frame is a type of vulture that can live for millennia and wait long enough for someone to die of natural causes.

Because the Time Vulture lives for so long, in its point of view, everyone says "But, I'm not about to die" right before they do. In our point of view it could be several years, but since the Time Vulture lives for so long, years are mere moments in its view.

In the title text, since all vultures wait for their prey to die, all vultures are Time Vultures, but time vultures are able to wait decades for their prey, whereas regular vultures do not have that kind of time.

[edit] Transcript

[A bird with apparently fractal wings hovers above Cueball, standing with a friend.]
Friend: Dude, you've got a Time Vulture.
Cueball: Holy crap! What is it?
Friend: They're predators that use aging to kill prey.
Cueball: Huh? What do you mean?
[The panel zooms in on the Friend's face. Cueball comments from off-panel.]
Friend: They live for millenia and use little energy. They can slow down their internal clocks so time speeds past. To hunt, they lock on to some prey, and when it stops moving, they eat it.
Cueball (off-panel): But what if the prey doesn't die?
Friend: I don't think you quite understand.
Cueball: I mean, I'm not about to die...
Friend: From the vulture's viewpoint, everyone says that moments before they do.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


An obvious reference to death itself, which stalks everyone, usually for decades. This is a "memento mori". 17:33, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Is this a reference to Dr. Who's Weeping Angels, who also (in a different way) hunt by having their victims live to death? 04:01, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
I doubt it. While there is definitely a similarity, it seems like too much of a stretch to have been intentional. 00:26, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
While the idea of weeping angels seems pretty true on the surface, they get their 'food' from transporting something through time, but this animal doesn't eat time or anything, it just dramatically speeds up how quickly time passes for it- similar to how sometimes a night's sleep feels only like an hour or sometimes a year.
Oh, I want those overnight feels like a year sleeps. I get less of them the older I get. Having a kid pretty much put a nail in that coffin. 14:09, 20 August 2014 (UTC) 16:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Does anyone know if Randell is a Who fan? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

From the vulture's viewpoint, the carcass will rot (or be buried) in seconds. Hope it can speed up its internal clock when needed. Mumiemonstret (talk) 10:10, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

The logical way to kill this off would be with a shotgun. Problem solved...? Unless the Time Vulture recognises shotguns as a threat. I am glad this thing doesn't exist. LuigiBrick (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?