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A “turkey expert” has an explanation for that terrifying viral dead cat video

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Alex Finnis
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“Have you seen the turkey video?” – that’s probably a question you were asked by at least one person at work yesterday, or by a mate in the pub afterwards, and probably again by one of your housemates when you got home.

If your answer to that question was “oh god, fuck, yes”, then you’ll know it’s terrifying. Like, bone-chillingly, properly fucking terrifying. It's freaky as shit and I hate it.

If you’ve not seen it yet, then here it is. A video of I think 18 turkeys circling a dead cat in the middle of the street in Boston. Fuck this.

It’s the worst, isn’t it? It’s not like it’s disgusting or like, viscerally scary or anything, it’s just so unsettling. It looks like they’re trying to bring it back from the dead, and it looks like it might actually work.

But apparently there’s now an explanation for this fucked up behaviour, courtesy of a man named David Scarpitti – the bloke Boston Magazine calls “Massachusetts’ foremost turkey expert”. How do people get these jobs?

He told them that while these turkeys’ behaviour is still extremely unusual and “really quite amazing”, he thinks he can explain what they’re up to.

He said that it’s to do with turkeys’ natural fear of cats. So they’ve seen this one lying in the street and are immediately wary of it – they’re not sure whether it’s dead or alive and they’re trying to suss it out.

The reason that they’re all circling it, he adds, is that turkeys tend to follow a leader, kind of like the sheep of the large tasty bird world. So the most likely explanation is that one turkey started walking round the cat, inspecting it, and the others followed. That led to this terrifying turkey ritual we’ve all been subjected to thanks to @TheReal_JDavis and his bizarre discovery.

While the behaviour is explainable, Scarpetti still says he’s never seen anything like this in his 15 years as a wildlife biologist, so it’s still very fucked up.