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Too-Real Photos Of Live Turkeys That'll Ruin Thanksgiving Dinner

Never forget.

Come Thanksgiving, all anyone thinks about is the feast. The stuffing, sides, the pie. Brining, cooking and carving of the turkey.

Not many of us stop and think about what the turkey we’re preparing actually looks like before it ends up de-feathered in our kitchen, in a neat, lifeless bundle. Considering that Americans eat 46 million turkeys each year around this holiday, it’s time we all remind ourselves what we’re really eating.

We’re just going to break it to you: they’re terrifying. And they come in all shapes and sizes. Humans started off by hunting and eating wild turkeys, but over the years we’ve selectively bred them to become the broader-breasted, domesticated turkeys that we eat commercially today. The majority of domesticated turkeys sold commercially are broad-breasted whites ― those are the ones pardoned by the president every year ― but there a handful of other breeds (some heritage) that also make it on the table.

We just think a dose of reality always lends some much-needed perspective. Bon appetit!

First, there's the snood.
Brian Snyder / Reuters
Yep, that's what the red fleshy bits hanging off turkeys' beaks are called. When a male turkey is strutting the snood engorges with blood and hangs down off the side of the beak, like this one.
Oh, and then there are the wattles.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Those are the fleshy bits hanging off the bottom of the beak.
And check out what goes on around the neck.
Jon Nazca / Reuters
So many fleshy bits.
Sometimes they're blue.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Blue AND red.
Brian Snyder / Reuters
Nigel Roddis / Reuters
This is what they look like when they fly.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Yes, they really can fly. At least wild turkeys can, as well as the heritage breeds being sold by smaller farmers.
They stand together in packs.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
And did you know wild turkeys canrun up to 20 miles per hour? You don't want to get on a turkey's bad side.
They're pretty giant, too.
altrendo images via Getty Images
Do you really want a piece of this at your next Thanksgiving feast?
Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters
Gobble, gobble.