Turkey is one type of poultry. They are large, very agile birds, capable of swimming, running, and even flying over short distances. The domestic turkey may not be as agile as its wild cousin, but it is still a friendly animal with lots of character. They’ve even been known to like some people over others and remember the faces of their favorite people.
The wild turkey and the domestic turkey are different enough that they can be considered as two separate sub-species.
Wild turkeys live in all US states, except Alaska. It belongs to the same group of birds as pheasants and other game birds. He is capable of short bursts of fast flight, can and swim, and is also able to put up a fight if he feels threatened or if you are unfortunate enough to get too close to his cubs. Wild turkeys eat seeds as well as insects, frogs, and even some small lizards.
Domestic turkeys were domesticated more than 2,000 years ago and have been bred for their meat. It has been bred to have larger breasts than wild turkeys, meaning it is heavier and taller. This also means that it is flightless and usually cannot reach the same running or swimming speeds as its wild counterpart. Domestic turkeys are usually fed commercial food pellets.
Wild turkeys, in particular, are known to be agile creatures. They are smaller and leaner than the domestic variety. They could swim, which they would when they needed to, and they could fly, in no time, at 60 miles per hour.
They are also very fast runners. Estimates vary from 15 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour, but it is fair to assume that they can reach speeds of between 20 and 25 miles per hour. This helps them escape from predators such as coyotes, foxes, skunks, snakes and birds of prey.
6 Facts About Turkey
1. The First Domestic Turkey Was Domesticated 2,000 Years Ago
The Mayans were the first to tame the Turks before Spanish explorers brought them back to Europe. When colonizers migrated back to the U.S., they brought domesticated turkeys back with them, meaning they were a frequent Native American species.
2. There Are About 6 Million Wild Turkeys
The number of wild turkeys has plummeted due to overhunting and their habitat has been destroyed. In the early 20th century, it was believed that there were tens of thousands of birds remaining. Conservation efforts saw this number increase to 7 million around 2010, although it is believed that the figure has dropped to around 6 million today.
3. Turkey Has Incredible Vision
Turkeys are prey to several threatening and skilled hunters including coyotes and birds of prey. Incredible vision gave them the opportunity to escape and their vision was three times clearer than humans. They also have a 270° viewing angle so they can see almost anything that gets close.
4. They Will Protect Their Children
Turkeys are known to be quite aggressive. While this is not always the case, if they feel that you are threatening their child, they will attack to protect their child. People claim that you should avoid looking turkey eyes and making loud noises to scare them if you are confronted.
5. They Are Social Animals
Wild turkeys live in family groups. They will sleep in trees with their large family herd. Come morning, they would all start devouring and chatting with each other, to make sure that everyone was okay.
6. Turkey Will Adopt Favorite Person
It’s not just the friendly wild turkey. Domesticated, farm turkeys will befriend their owners and many people have been known to keep them as pets on farms. In fact, you may notice that a certain turkey will get a little closer to you each time you visit until they will eventually run towards you when you walk through the gate. They can remember faces and will follow their favorite people around the farmyard.
How Fast Can Turkey Run?
Turkeys are friendly, intelligent and characterful birds. They are considered big game and while domesticated turkeys are usually kept as a source of meat, there are still several million wild turkeys living in the US, in all states except Alaska. They can swim, fly at high speeds, even for short periods of time, and they can run at 20 miles per hour or more.
Featured Image Credit: Tom Reichner, Shutterstock