Viral

Strange birds: Video of turkeys creepily circling a dead cat goes viral

File photo - A wild turkey crosses the road in the Parker National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island in Newbury, Massachusetts Nov. 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

File photo - A wild turkey crosses the road in the Parker National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island in Newbury, Massachusetts Nov. 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A video of wild turkeys creepily circling a dead cat has gone viral.

More than a dozen turkeys can be seen walking in a circle around the cat in a video tweeted by @TheRealJ_Davis Thursday. “Yo, this is the craziest thing I have ever seen - Turkeys walking in a circle around a dead cat in the middle of the road – what!” said the Boston resident, in the video. “Bro, this is wild!”

The tweet has been retweeted more than 56,000 times and racked up more than 89,000 likes.

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Alan Krakauer,  a biologist at the University of California Davis, described the animal video as one of the spookiest he has seen in an email to Fox News. The expert, however, also offered an explanation for the birds’ strange behavior.

“The turkeys are cautious about the cat because they think it may be a predator. If the turkeys see a land predator like that, it probably isn't an immediate threat, but they want to keep an eye on it,” he said. “They may be teaching younger birds in the group about it, and in normal circumstances, a predator would probably want to move along because it is not likely to be able to hunt if the turkeys are alert to its presence.”

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Krakauer said that he has seen similar behavior when a coyote moved through a flock of turkeys – with the birds keeping a “respectable” distance from the predator. “The circling behavior probably stems from a ‘follow-the-leader movement’ behavior that turkeys sometimes use,” he explained.  “In this case, I think the flock size just happened to be perfect so that the leader of ‘conga line’ met up with the tail, and they just kept going round and round!”

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers