By Grace Carr
Most Americans will be recovering from Thanksgiving turkey comas Friday, and would hardly be able to sprint around a track like the large speedy birds they ate for the holiday meal.
While the birds might not look so quick on the Thanksgiving dinner platter, turkeys can reach 25 mph running full speed on the ground, according to MentalFloss.com. Flying, they can move through the air at up to 55 mph.
The birds can move quickly, but they are not light. The average turkey served at Thanksgiving today weighs more than 30 pounds.
The average commercial turkey weighed 16.83 pounds in 1963, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Turkeys also have incredible vision, MentalFloss reported. Not only is their vision sharp, but they also boast incredible peripheral vision. Turkeys can see 270 degrees, where humans can only see 180 degrees.
A number of county fairs across America take advantage of the birds’ unique traits, setting turkeys loose on a racetrack to compete for the title of fastest bird.
Turkeys have between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers. The skin on a turkey’s throat also changes color depending on its level of stress and excitement, turning blue upon excitement and red upon stress-induced situations like an imminent fight with another bird.
Turkeys can carry disease, however, making proper preparation of the meat especially important. Jennie-O was forced to recall roughly 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey in 2018 after health officials found a strain of salmonella in the meat. The outbreak caused one death and 164 reported illnesses in 35 states, according to CBS News.
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