In the deepest recesses of YouTube, avid hunters and animal fanatics have shared clandestine, voyeuristic clips that document the sex lives of every creature known to man. In one of these videos, a majestic wild turkey struts around a sparse, spacious garden, his chest puffed out and his tail feathers fanned. After scaring away his competition, the hot stud finds himself alone with a lusty, willing hen, who takes a seat and offers herself up for mating. Fast-forward a few seconds, and… Wait, what the fuck? This big guy has literally stepped on her neck to rub his swollen, throbbing junk against hers. Meanwhile, one of her friends wanders over to take a sniff.
I know that as the nation prepares to dive headfirst into Thanksgiving celebrations, your timelines are full of turkey content, but before you sit down to gaze hungrily at that juicy, stuffed bird with its legs spread wide, allow me to let you in on a little secret: Turkeys are filthy, slutty, depraved sex demons, and there’s a good chance that before they wound up in your oven, they fucked more brilliantly and stupendously than you have in your entire, pathetic human life.
Personally, I was already convinced that an animal whose adult male species are sometimes known as “gobblers”— which in human slang is “someone who sucks your balls while you whack off” — was guaranteed to get up to some seriously weird shit when it comes to mating. But once I scrolled through the endless pages of kinky Turkish porn (pro tip: Googling “turkey sex” doesn’t help), I found some pretty compelling evidence to back me up and confirm that turkeys are the horniest, most sexually satisfied animals alive.
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There’s a lot you should know about gobblers. In a nutshell, though, male wild turkeys are the bird equivalent of those dick-swinging gym bros who walk around in their grey sweats dripping with testosterone and making small talk with Insta-ready ready hot girls in ass-hugging, $200 workout tights. Like dudes jockeying for the heaviest lift, these gobblers fight for dominance — especially during mating season, which lasts anywhere from late winter to early summer, depending on where they are.
For most of the year, these turkey bros stick together in “bachelor” flocks, rarely mixing with hens or “jakes” (young males). But during these few short months, alliances are thrown out. Once it’s mating season, it’s every gobbler for himself.
To impress their chosen hens and seal the proverbial deal, these guys put on courtship displays, known as “strutting,” which, outside of mating season, are basically a show of dominance. Like muscle hunks posting flex pics and painstakingly-rehearsed selfies, gobblers puff up their chests to sometimes enormous proportions, bring in their necks and fan their tail feathers to show off their fancy, colorful plumage. This begins a kind of mating dance — if she’s interested, the hen will circle the gobbler and, eventually, sit down if she’s keen to get busy. The most successful gobblers are usually the ones willing to fight to land their preferred hens, and they rarely stop at just one — these bros are naturally polygamous, and make it a mission to rack up as many baby mamas as possible.
This isn’t always easy, though: Hens can be pretty discerning. But there is one particular feature that draws them in — a nice, long… snood. (Hens have them too, but they’re way smaller.) The “snood” is a long, fleshy, red appendage that dangles off turkey’s chins and gets hard when gobblers get excited. As one bemused redditor put it, “It’s a little face boner!”
“The snood is a secondary sexual characteristic and serves to signal the dominance of the bird,” explains Roger Lederer, an ornithologist with more than five decades of experience. “The longer the snood, the more dominant the male.” (Yep — even in the wild turkey world, size matters.) “Of course, females are attracted to the longer-snooded, more dominant males,” Lederer continues. “[Either that] or the dominant male chases the other males away from the receptive female.” Once these big-snooded boys have landed a willing hen, they begin the actual mating process, which usually takes around 30 minutes (way better than measly humans, who, according to past research, view a fuck that lasts longer than 13 minutes as a drag).
Most birds don’t have penises; instead, both male and females have cloacas, or internal chambers with an opening for sex organs — either sperm or eggs — to be discharged. So, the gobbler hops on the hen’s back and rubs his swollen cloaca against hers, shifting his weight to keep his balance and arching his back to ensure his avian juices trickle into the right place. Think of it as a deep, carnal understanding — he knows exactly what it’s like to have a cloaca, and therefore, he knows all the right spots to hit.
With all this talk of facial erections, polygamy and straight-up Hunger Games-style fights for dominance, it’s easy to assume that these guys have wild, carnal desires. But in a series of seriously weird sex experiments in the 1960s (commercial breeders were desperate to overcome low fertility rates), scientists found that domestic turkeys were more interested in the hen’s head than anything else, which we humans obviously associate with intimacy.
Forget the shitty rom-com clichés, though — these gobblers were ready to throw down even when they were presented with a severed, taxidermied head, as well as heads crafted from wood. Basically, these guys are so kinky they’ll fuck — or at least try to fuck — an inanimate object, and when it comes to mating with IRL hens, they’re so thirsty that they’ll step on her neck, back and whatever else they need to trample to get the job done. Like the “choke me daddy” brigade among us, these birds aren’t afraid to get rough.
You might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned domestic turkeys. The reason is simple: They’ve essentially been cucked by capitalism, left unable to breed due to shitty conditions and consumer expectations of abnormally huge, bloated frames — value for money, in other words. “The body form of the turkey — especially the large breast — has made it impossible for mating to occur, so they’re artificially inseminated,” Lederer explains. “Plus, they have weak legs, high blood pressure and abnormalities from being bred in captive, crowded conditions, which make mating impossible.” These endless modifications have completely fucked up the turkey’s natural cycle and behaviors, depriving them of all the horny, cloaca-based shit their wild counterparts get up to each year.
Now, you might also be thinking that I’m ignoring the fact that plenty of other birds have pretty unusual mating behaviors (Lederer lists New Guinea’s Birds of Paradise, Australia’s Bowerbirds and Brush Turkeys and South America’s Red-Capped Manakins as examples) to selectively prove my point. To this I say… You would be absolutely right!
But this is Thanksgiving, aka Turkey Day. And on Turkey Day, the turkey is king. Never more so than when you realize that they’re the ones that are actually the proverbial tigers in bed.