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It’s time to talk turkey.
With Thanksgiving coming around the corner, here are 10 fun facts about the animal everyone associates with the holiday:
1. Their poop can tell you a lot.
You can see the difference between female and male turkeys in their poop. Female turkeys look like a spiral, and male turkeys look like the letter “J,” according to the National Audubon Society.
2. Turkeys are named after the country Turkey.
The American bird is named after a country all the way in Europe, according to NPR, although the exact naming process isn’t quite clear.
3. Turkeys are fast animals.
They can reach 25 miles per hour while running — the same speed cars can go in a school zone — and 55 miles per hour while flying, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
4. Benjamin Franklin was a big fan of turkeys.
While he wrote to his daughter that the bald eagle “is a bird of bad moral character,” per the Franklin Institute, he viewed turkeys as “a much more respectable bird” that “would not hesitate to attack” a British soldier. There is no evidence of him proposing it as the national bird, though, contrary to a popular myth.
5. What an egg-cellent bird.
Female turkeys lay 11 eggs on average during their nesting season, per the Iowa DNR.
6. Turkeys live almost everywhere in the United States.
Wild turkeys live in almost every state. Alaska is the only place without wild turkeys, according to a 2013 article from Live Science.
7. Turkeys have better vision than you.
Do you think you have pretty good vision? Turkeys have even better eyes. They can see three times better than a human with perfect 20/20 vision, according to the National Audubon Society.
8. Some U.S. presidents have “pardoned” turkeys.
President George H.W. Bush was the first U.S. president to officially pardon a turkey, according to the White House archives. One rumor says Abraham Lincoln was the first to pardon a turkey after his son begged him to do so, though.
9. Don’t mess with turkeys.
You probably don’t want to mess with a turkey in the wild. The animal has been known to show “aggressive behavior” toward people and may even peck at their own reflections on cars or windows, according to the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife and Fisheries.
10. Americans eat a lot of turkey this time of year.
In the U.S. alone, about 46 million turkeys are served on Thanksgiving, according to an article from Good Housekeeping. Iowans especially love to eat turkey with some green bean casserole, according to an analysis of American’s favorite Thanksgiving sides.
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