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Critters of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area (and further afield) and a critter up for adoption by RACC.

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This is a repeat (new Quick Facts) from last year because it’s THANKSGIVING.

Where Spotted: Amherst County (not RVA but seasonally appropriate)
Common Name: Wild Turkey
Scientific Name: Meleagris gallopavo
Average Length: 30 to 37 in for the females (hens) and 39–49 in for the males (toms)
Weight: 9.4 lb for the females (hens) and 11 to 24 lb for the males (toms)
Wingspan: 4 ft 1 in to 4 ft 9 in

Quick Facts from Cornell Lab

  • The Wild Turkey and the Muscovy Duck are the only two domesticated birds native to the New World.
  • In the early 1500s, European explorers brought home Wild Turkeys from Mexico, where native people had domesticated the birds centuries earlier. Turkeys quickly became popular on European menus thanks to their large size and rich taste from their diet of wild nuts. Later, when English colonists settled on the Atlantic Coast, they brought domesticated turkeys with them.
  • The English name of the bird may be a holdover from early shipping routes that passed through the country of Turkey on their way to delivering the birds to European markets.
  • Male Wild Turkeys provide no parental care. Newly hatched chicks follow the female, who feeds them for a few days until they learn to find food on their own. As the chicks grow, they band into groups composed of several hens and their broods. Winter groups sometimes exceed 200 turkeys.
  • As Wild Turkey numbers dwindled through the early twentieth century, people began to look for ways to reintroduce this valuable game bird. Initially they tried releasing farm turkeys into the wild but those birds didn’t survive. In the 1940s, people began catching wild birds and transporting them to other areas. Such transplantations allowed Wild Turkeys to spread to all of the lower 48 states (plus Hawaii) and parts of southern Canada.
  • Because of their large size, compact bones, and long-standing popularity as a dinner item, turkeys have a better known fossil record than most other birds. Turkey fossils have been unearthed across the southern United States and Mexico, some of them dating from more than 5 million years ago.
  • When they need to, Turkeys can swim by tucking their wings in close, spreading their tails, and kicking.

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Luna Tuna at Richmond RACC

Breed: American Pit Bull Terrier Mix
Age: Young
Size: (when grown) Med. 26-60 lbs (12-27 kg)
Sex: Female
Pet ID: 87282

Adopt Luna Tuna at Richmond RACC

Due to COVID-19, the shelter is currently closed and adoptions are scheduled by appointment only. Adoptions are scheduled on a first come, first serve or best fit basis.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.