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Foothills Animal Shelter via Facebook
Foothills Animal Shelter via Facebook

15 Amazing Animal Reunions

Foothills Animal Shelter via Facebook
Foothills Animal Shelter via Facebook

If these long-lost animals could talk, they’d have quite a story to tell. As it is, their adventures remain a mystery. But one thing their missing years and glorious reunions highlight is the importance of microchipping your pets so they can be accurately identified in case something goes wrong.

1. CLIVE // ONE YEAR

Kennelgate Pet Superstores via Facebook

A Norwegian forest cat named Clive lived in Toton, Nottinghamshire, UK, with Tanya Irons and her family. That is, until he went missing in October 2014.

More than a year later, employees at the Kennelgate Pet Superstores warehouse started experiencing intruder alarms that seemed to trigger themselves. The workers began to suspect that a cat had gotten into the warehouse and was helping himself to the pet food. Even after they spotted Clive, it took some time to catch him. When they finally did, he was returned to his family after having been gone 16 months. They said he “smelled a bit” and had gained weight from his time in the warehouse.

2. KEVIN // TWO YEARS

Riverside County Department of Animal Services

A tabby named Kevin didn’t come home to Cheryl Walls of Anderson, South Carolina, one night in 2013. She waited for the cat, then searched, but eventually assumed he was gone for good. Two years later, a truck with a U-Haul trailer was stopped at the Arizona-California border for a routine agriculture check when the inspector heard a muffled meow from among the boxes. A cat had apparently stowed away in the trailer, and the driver had no clue how long he had been in there.

The trailer had traveled 2500 miles without being opened. The cat was taken to a shelter, where his microchip identified him. Walls was delighted to receive a call that Kevin had been found, but astonished that it was from southern California. Two animal organizations raised money to fund Kevin’s flight home to South Carolina.

3. ZEUS // TWO YEARS

Debi Petranck was heartbroken when her terrier Zeus escaped from her Ocala, Florida, backyard in August of 2014. She searched for him, posted flyers, and checked social media for leads, to no avail. In April of 2016, she got a call from the animal shelter in Dearborn, Michigan, who said they had Zeus. Petranck immediately drove over a thousand miles to fetch the dog.

It turns out that a man in Florida found Zeus on the street and took him in without checking for a microchip. The man eventually moved to Detroit and took the dog with him. Zeus escaped again there, and was picked up and taken to the shelter as a stray (where they, thankfully, checked the chip). “Everything’s just the way we left it," Petranck told CBS Detroit. "We’ve just picked right up where we were.”

4. WOOSIE // THREE YEARS

Woosie the cat went missing from Helen and Phillip Johns' home in Gover, Cornwall, UK, in 2011. As time went by, they thought they’d never see their cat again. But Woosie had just found greener pastures.

Three years after the cat had gone missing, the couple got a call from a vet who had found them using Woosie's microchip. The cat had been living in a pasty factory three miles away the entire time. The factory workers had been feeding him pasties and sandwiches, and had even renamed him George. Woosie was reunited with the Johns, who found him bedraggled and quite fat from his food factory years.

5. MARBLES // THREE YEARS

Sharon Johnson of Mackay, Queensland, Australia, lost her Marbles. Marbles, her white chinchilla cat, didn’t come home one day in 2013, and was not microchipped. Johnson posted flyers in the neighborhood and notices on social media, but got nowhere. That is, until 2016, when the local pound brought in a cat that resembled Marbles’s picture.

The cat was so dirty and matted that the family wasn’t completely sure it was him when they saw the picture on the local lost and found pets Facebook page. But the cat was found only a couple of streets away from their home, so they went to see it. It was indeed Marbles, who looked like himself again after a trip to the vet and the groomer. While his appearance led the Johnsons to believe he may have been a stray the entire three years, they also believe someone was feeding him, since he was in decent health.

6. BROWNIE // THREE YEARS

Ricardo Dominguez of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, loved his dog Brownie. The chocolate Lab went missing while under the care of others in 2013. Dominguez looked everywhere, and even suspected that someone had stolen the dog. That suspicion was bolstered when he spotted Brownie in a vehicle four months after going missing, but couldn’t turn his truck and trailer around fast enough to catch up to the other car.

Three years later, Brownie was picked up in Otay Mesa, California, and identified by the staff at San Diego County Animal Services. How Brownie ended up 720 miles away is anyone’s guess, but Dominguez wasted no time in driving to the city as soon as he heard the news. Brownie was reportedly ecstatic at seeing Dominguez again after so long.

7. CHIQUITO // FOUR YEARS

Chicago Police Department via Facebook

Chiquito the Chicago Chihuahua got lost on June 16, 2012. “It was just devastating for all of us, especially my daughter. It's her dog and she was really sad,” Gloria Martinez told WGN.

Fortunately, this past June, a stray dog was brought to the attention of Chicago policemen Eric Taylor and Nicholas Spacek. They took the dog to the police station, and the Animal Welfare League found Chiquito had a microchip. The Martinez family was notified, and they rushed down to the police station to fetch him. They will probably never know what he was up to during those four long years.

8. LEO // SIX YEARS

Allison Hinton

Allison and Bill Hinton lived in Hunt, Texas, in 2010 when their two dogs took off together. The other dog eventually came home, but their terrier mix, Leo, went missing. After several years of looking, the Hintons lost hope of ever seeing Leo again, especially after moving 1400 miles away to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2014.

But this summer, Allison’s mother received a call from Kerr County (Texas) Animal Services informing her that they had picked up a stray with a microchip identifying him as Leo. The dog was infested with fleas and had a skin condition. Allison, who traveled back to Texas to get Leo, told Michigan Live: "He was one of our favorite little dogs, he had a funny personality and was really sweet," before heading to the store to buy his favorite treat: cherries.

9. CORKY // SEVEN YEARS


Jimmy Montez and his family lived in Boyd, Texas, in 2009 when they lost their young dog Corky. They searched for him for six months. This July, they got a call from the Humane Society in Fort Worth that they’d picked up two dogs; they had found the Montez family through Corky’s microchip. The Montez family had moved 30 miles to Fort Worth while Corky was missing, so they went right to the shelter. They were overjoyed to see Corky again.

However, Corky was obviously bonded to the other dog he was picked up with. That dog, who the shelter named Captain, did not have a microchip, so the Montezes decided to adopt him. Now Corky and his friend have a permanent home together.

10. MOON UNIT // EIGHT YEARS

Marna Gillian

A cat name Moon Unit not only left home but fled the country as well. Marna Gillian and Sean Purdy rang in 2008 with a New Year's Eve party at their home in London. Sometime during the night, Moon Unit slipped away from the house and wasn’t seen again for over eight years.

This summer, the cat was picked up as a stray in the streets of Paris. The French animal rescue group ADAD took the cat in and identified her as a UK pet, thanks to her microchip. Gillian was shocked to receive an email from ADAD about Moon Unit, speculating that the cat must have arrived in France as a stowaway—if she had been taken there legally, her microchip would have been scanned as she entered the country. Gillian and Purdy, who no longer live together, reunited for a trip to Paris to collect Moon Unit.

11. SMELLY // EIGHT YEARS

Kathleen Crichton of Orlando, Florida, lost her 8-year-old cat Smelly in 2008. At the time, she had three cats and a dog. By 2016, Crichton had three sons and a fish. Just last month, she got a phone call from a veterinarian in Gainesville who identified Smelly by his microchip. Crichton made the two-hour trip to get the cat, and found him as feisty as ever at 16 years old. The clinic told her someone had brought him in as a stray, but no one knows how he got to Gainesville.

12. BOOZER // NINE YEARS

Foothills Animal Shelter via Facebook

In 2006, Lloyd Goldston and his family moved from Tennessee to Alabama, and in the process lost their one-year-old boxer named Boozer. In August of last year, a family in Colorado turned their dog in to a shelter because they could no longer care for him. They had adopted the dog from a boxer rescue group in Tennessee years earlier.

The Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden said that the Tennessee rescue should have checked for a microchip, but they scanned the dog anyway to make sure. They found him registered to Goldston, who drove 18 hours to Colorado along with his children Megan and Will for a joyous reunion. Boozer is a naturally friendly dog, but after about 15 seconds, he became more excited than ever as he recognized his family after nine years, according to shelter representative Jennifer Strickland. That’s a good dog.

13. CHARLIE // 10 YEARS

Tracey Dove of Cullman, Alabama, found her dog enclosure had been broken into one day in 2006, and her one-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer named Charlie was gone. Ten years later, an animal shelter received a report of a stray dog that had been hanging around the Damascus Assembly of God church in Brewton, Alabama, for three days. The shelter's Rescue director Renee Jones took the dog to a veterinarian, who found his microchip.

Even microchipped animals can be hard to identify after so many years, but Dove had updated her address with the microchip company when the family moved, on the off chance Charlie would be found. And he was, almost 250 miles away. Dove was speechless when she heard the news. Charlie was in poor health, and had a mass on his side that needed to be removed before he could travel, which led Dove to think that someone discarded the dog because of his illness. 

14. MISTY // 11 YEARS

Multnomah County Animal Services via Facebook

Misty was only two years old when she didn’t come home to her family in Portland, Oregon, in 2005. Dean McCrea and Meredith Warren had heard about a coyote in the neighborhood that had killed a cat, and over time assumed that Misty had been its victim. But this past summer, they got a call from the Multnomah County Animal Shelter that their cat had been identified by her microchip. Misty was reunited with her family after 11 years, and recognized everyone right off. Warren said she doesn’t seem stressed and appears well-fed, so they think she may have been living with another family all that time.

15. SHELBY // 13 YEARS

Paula Harper-Adams

Shelby the cat went missing from her home in Geelong, Australia, in 2001. In 2014, Paula Harper-Adams found a stray cat at her front doorstep that had dirty, matted fur and was covered in lice. The more Harper-Adams looked at the cat, the more it reminded her of the cat she lost 13 years earlier. She took the stray to the vet's office, along with a picture of Shelby, and the veterinarian confirmed that yes, this was Shelby, much older, but still the same cat. No one knows where Shelby went for 13 years, but she knew where to find her home more than a decade after being away.

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Atlanta Shelters Give Pups a Temporary Home for the Holidays
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The holidays are looking a little brighter for adoptable dogs from two animal shelters in Atlanta, Georgia. As ABC News reports, a new program called Home for the Pawlidays is providing temporary homes to longer-term residents of Fulton County Animal Services and DeKalb County Animal Services for the week of Thanksgiving.

The initiative was organized by Atlanta's LifeLine Animal Project, a local group dedicated to providing healthcare and homes to shelter dogs. The dogs that were chosen for the project may be older, have special health needs, or other issues that make it more difficult to find them forever homes.

But from November 18 to 25, the dogs are getting to spend time away from the shelter and in the homes of loving foster families.

“We were thinking, everyone gets a break from work, and they should get a break from the shelter,” LifeLine’s public relations director Karen Hirsch told ABC News.

Some caretakers have already fallen in love with their four-legged house guests. Foster Heather Koth told ABC that she hadn’t been considering adoption, but after meeting Missy the shelter dog, she now plans to foster her until she has a permanent home or possibly adopt the dog herself.

And for the dogs that can’t be kept by their temporary owners, just a week of quality playtime and sleeping in a real bed can make a huge impact. You can check out photos of the pets who are benefiting from the program this week below.

[h/t ABC News]

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25 Things You Didn't Know About Turkeys
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Most of us probably associate turkey with a sumptuous Thanksgiving spread, but there’s a lot more to the big bird than how delicious it is alongside your grandma’s famous cranberry sauce. Here are a few bits of knowledge you can drop over the dinner table—when you’re not fighting with your family over white meat or dark meat, that is.

1. THE NORTH AMERICAN WILD TURKEY POPULATION WAS ALMOST WIPED OUT.

Wild turkey
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Wild turkeys once roamed the continent en masse, but by the early 20th century, the entire U.S. population had been whittled down to a mere 30,000 due to hunting and the destruction of their woodland habitats. In the 1940s, many of the remaining birds were relocated to parts of the U.S. with recovering woodlands so the turkeys could repopulate. Despite these efforts, by 1973, there were still just 1.5 million wild turkeys in North America. Today, that number is up to about 6 million.

2. TURKEY APPENDAGES ARE LIKE MOOD RINGS.

Wild turkey
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The dangly appendage that hangs from the turkey’s forehead to the beak is called a snood. The piece that hangs from the chin is the wattle. These fleshy flaps can change color according to the turkey’s physical and mental health—when a male turkey (called a tom, of course) is trying to attract a mate, the snood and wattle turn bright red. If the turkey is scared, the appendages take on a blue tint. And if the turkey is ailing, they become very pale.

3. TURKEYS CAN FLY.

Wild turkey in flight
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Well, domestic turkeys that are bred to be your Thanksgiving centerpiece can’t. They’re too heavy. But wild turkeys can, reportedly at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. Though they don’t go very far—usually less than 100 yards—wild turkeys are among the five largest flying birds in the world. They’re in good company: Others on the list include the swan and the albatross.

4. THEY CAN ALSO SWIM.

Wild turkey drinking water
iStock

Turkeys don’t swim often, it seems, but they can, by tucking their wings in, spreading their tails, and kicking. In 1831, John James Audubon wrote, “I have been told by a friend that a person residing in Philadelphia had a hearty laugh on hearing that I had described the Wild Turkey as swimming for some distance, when it had accidentally fallen into the water. But be assured, kind reader, almost every species of land-bird is capable of swimming on such occasions, and you may easily satisfy yourself as to the accuracy of my statement by throwing a Turkey, a Common Fowl, or any other bird into the water.”

5. TURKEY POOP CAN TELL YOU A LOT.

A handler picking up turkey poop at the White House Turkey Pardon in 2013.

The next time you happen across turkey poop—which happens all the time, we know—take a closer look at it. If the droppings are shaped like a “J,” they were left there by a male turkey. Spiral-shaped poo? The culprit is female.

The citizens of Pilot Rock, Oregon, probably don’t much care about the shape of the stuff, but more about the quantity of it. Earlier this year, Pilot Rock turned to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for help combating a flock of 50 to 70 wild turkeys that would periodically invade the town, destroy gardens, perch in trees, and poop on pickup trucks. The ODFW offered several solutions, but as far as we know the turkeys still rule the roost at Pilot Rock.

6. TURKEY PROBABLY WASN'T ON THE PILGRIMS' MENU.

A recreation of the Pilgrims' first settlement
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Thanks to historical records, we know for sure that the Wampanoag brought deer, and the English brought fowl—likely ducks and geese.

7. BEN FRANKLIN DIDN'T REALLY WANT THE TURKEY TO BE OUR NATIONAL BIRD.

A drawing of Ben Franklin.
Getty / Hulton Archive / Handout

You may have heard that at least one of our Founding Fathers lobbied hard to make the turkey our national symbol instead of the noble bald eagle. That’s not quite true, but in a letter to his daughter, he did expound on the character of each, which may be where the rumor got started:

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

“With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping & robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our country…

“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

8. ANOTHER TURKEY FAN: ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

Portrait of Alexander Hamilton
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Yep, A. Ham liked turkey. In fact, he thought eating turkey was practically a god-given right, and once remarked that "No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day."

9. TEDDY ROOSEVELT BELIEVED THE BIRDS WERE CUNNING PREY.

Teddy Roosevelt on a hunting trip in Africa.
Getty / Hulton Archive / Stringer

Ol’ TR may have been accustomed to hunting big game, but wild turkeys held a special place in his heart. He believed they were every bit as challenging to hunt as deer. In his 1893 book Hunting Trips of a Ranchman and the Wilderness Hunter, he wrote, “The wild turkey really deserves a place beside the deer; to kill a wary old gobbler with the small-bore rifle, by fair still-hunting, is a triumph for the best sportsman.”

10. WILD TURKEYS HAVE BETTER VISION THAN YOU DO.

Close up of wild turkey's head
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Their fantastic vision is probably one reason Teddy Roosevelt found turkeys such a challenge to hunt. They can detect motion from many yards away, have vision three times greater than 20/20, and have peripheral vision of about 270 degrees. Ours, comparatively, is only 180. And although turkeys can’t see in 3D, they can see UVA light, which helps them better identify predators, prey, mates, and food.

11. THE TOP TURKEY-PRODUCING STATE MAY SURPRISE YOU.

Domesticated turkeys on a farm
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You may know Minnesota for producing Prince, the Mall of America, and Target. But we also have the Land of 10,000 Lakes to thank for our Thanksgiving turkeys. According to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, approximately 46-48 million turkeys are produced in Minnesota every year. In fact, it’s where the turkey that receives a presidential pardon hails from every year. Speaking of which ...

12. THE PRESIDENTIAL TURKEY PARDON MAY DATE BACK TO ABE LINCOLN.

President Barack Obama pardons a turkey in 2011.
Getty / Mark Wilson / Staff

Officially, the tradition of the sitting president of the United States pardoning his Thanksgiving turkey dates back to John F. Kennedy, who decided to let his gift from the National Turkey Federation off the hook. But he wasn't the first president to let a turkey go free: When Abraham Lincoln’s son Tad befriended one of the birds intended for Christmas dinner in 1863, kind-hearted Abe granted it a stay of execution.

13. THE FIRST TV DINNER MEAL: THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS

Thanksgiving TV dinner
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In 1953, Swanson ended up with 10 train cars full of frozen turkeys—260 tons of them—when an overzealous buyer ordered too many turkeys for the holidays. Salesman Gerry Thomas solved the problem by ordering 5,000 aluminum trays and setting up an assembly line of workers to scoop dressing, peas, and sweet potatoes into the compartments. Slices of turkey rounded out the meal, which Swanson sold for 98 cents. The idea was a hit: The following year, 10 million turkey TV dinners were sold.

14. NATIONAL TURKEY LOVERS’ MONTH ISN’T WHEN YOU THINK.

Grilled meats on a silver tray
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Everyone eats turkey in November and December, so there’s not a lot of need for extra poultry promotion during those months. If you want to celebrate National Turkey Lovers’ Month, you’ll have to do it in June with some turkey brats and burgers on the grill.

15. THE TURKEY YOU’LL BE EATING IS PROBABLY ABOUT 18 WEEKS OLD.

Roasted turkey on a platter
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That’s how long it typically takes the birds to grow to maturity, which is when they’re usually slaughtered.

16. THERE WAS ALMOST A TURKEY SIDEKICK IN POCAHONTAS.

Loren Javier via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

At one point, Disney thought Pocahontas needed a little comic relief, so they hired John Candy to voice a wisecracking woodland fowl named Red Feather. Sadly, Candy passed away while the logistics were being worked out, so animators dropped the turkey entirely and opted for a clever raccoon named Meeko.

17. NOT ALL TURKEYS GOBBLE.

Close up shot of a wild turkey
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If you hear a turkey making the distinctive noise we all associate with them, then you’re hearing a male communicating with his lady friends up to a mile away. Females make a clicking sound instead of a gobble.

18. IF YOU DON’T EAT TURKEY AT THANKSGIVING, YOU’RE IN THE MINORITY.

A black and white photo of a family gathering around the table as the mother brings in a turkey.
Getty / Evans / Stringer

According to the National Turkey Federation, 88 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving.

19. TURKEY CRAVINGS CAUSED A SPIKE IN KFC SALES IN JAPAN.

A large Kentucky Fried Chicken sign
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When KFC opened its first stores in Japan in the 1970s, the company was surprised to find that sales soared during the holidays. The phenomenon stymied executives since most of Japan celebrates neither Thanksgiving nor Christmas. It was later discovered that foreigners craving holiday turkey had decided that KFC’s chicken was the next best thing. After the company figured this out, they played up the association with their “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” campaign—“Kentucky for Christmas.” It worked on tourists and locals alike, and today, Christmas Eve is still the highest-selling day for KFC Japan.

20. THERE IS PROPER TURKEY TERMINOLOGY.

A flock of turkeys on a farm with one staring directly into the camera.
Getty / Cate Gillon / Staff

You probably know that a group of turkeys is a flock, but they can also properly be called a “rafter.” And should you want to call baby turkeys something a little more precise, you can call them “poults.”

21. THE MAYA USED TURKEYS AS SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS.

A Maya tripod plate featuring a bird
Los Angeles County Museum of Art via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Archaeologists have found vases dating from 250-800 CE that have turkeys depicted on them. According to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee art historian Andrea Stone, "turkeys were quintessential animals for feasting and for sacrificial offerings." The Maya even crafted tamales shaped like the birds.

22. DURING THE ‘70S, YOU COULD CALL JULIA CHILD FOR TURKEY ADVICE ON THANKSGIVING.

Julia Child in her kitchen in 1978
Lynn Gilbert via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Even when she was at peak popularity, the famous chef refused to remove her phone number from public listings. According to friends, complete strangers would call Child on Thanksgiving to ask for advice on cooking the perfect turkey. Julia always answered the phone, and typically told callers whatever they needed to hear to get them to relax and enjoy the holiday. She even told some amateur cooks that turkey was best served cold anyway.

23. BIG BIRD IS A TURKEY.

Big Bird and Elmo at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Getty / Matthew Peyton / Stringer

Well, according to Sesame Street, he’s actually a canary—but his plumage makes him a turkey. The good people at American Plume & Fancy Feather provide Sesame Street with several thousand turkey feathers per costume to make sure Big Bird looks soft and fluffy.

24. THE BIRD IS NAMED AFTER THE COUNTRY.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
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But the whole thing was a mistake. Centuries ago, the English began to import a rather tasty bird, now known as a helmeted guinea fowl, from Madagascar. But they didn’t know it was from Africa. Because it was imported to Europe from merchants in Turkey, the English believed the birds were also Turkish.

Later, when the Spanish arrived in the New World, they discovered Meleagris gallopavo—the wild turkey. It was delicious, so they started importing it back to Europe. Europeans thought it tasted like the “turkey” guinea fowl they had been enjoying, so they called it the same thing.

25. WHAT, EXACTLY, IS DARK MEAT?

Roasted turkey legs on a piece of butcher paper
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It’s just a different type of muscle than white meat. White meat is the result of glycogen, which doesn't need much oxygen from the blood because the muscles it fuels only require short bursts of energy. Dark meat, however, is found on wings, thighs, and drumsticks—muscles that are used for long periods of time and require more sustainable energy. It’s made dark by the proteins that convert fat into energy.

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