November 20, 2023 2 min read

October is almost over, and that means Thanksgiving is slowly but surely getting closer. While you’re probably looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends and enjoying some seriously delicious food, we all know Thanksgiving dinner can be awkward. 


Thanksgiving dinner conversations can and often are tense and make you want to hide under the dinner table. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year and want to keep things light-hearted, consider talking about the main dish. As you know, the bird is non-negotiable and a good conversation starter. Here’s one funny conversation starter to make Thanksgiving dinner a breeze. 

First Things First: Snoring in the Animal Kingdom

Most people snore from time to time as do many domestic animals. Animals that were documented to be most prone to snoring are brachycephalic (short-snouted) dogs and obese pigs [1,2]. Snoring in these animals can often be a symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing disorder where breathing is shallow or repeatedly stops during sleep.


In the wild, however, snoring is poorly documented. And in the not-so-recent past, wildlife researchers believed that wild animals don’t seem to snore [3]. That’s likely because snoring can be detrimental to an animal’s survival since it alerts potential predators and competitors of their presence when they’re most vulnerable, i.e. sleeping. 


But it can happen. Any wild animal with a soft palate can snore under the right circumstances, i.e. while back sleeping, if overweight, and when ill. 

But Can Turkeys Snore?

While many mammals can absolutely snore, does the same hold true for avian species? 


You may have come across a viral video of a hummingbird seemingly snoring. This footage came from a study measuring oxygen consumption. According to the video’s publisher, the hummingbird in question is just coming out of torpor and the “snoring” noise is due to it trying to take in extra oxygen [4].


However, researchers don’t believe this to be snoring but more likely to be a one-off abnormality or simply a bird in distress. Birds have a distinctly different respiratory system than mammals, allowing free flow of air directly into the lungs.

And since turkeys are birds too, the same holds true for them. While these birds sometimes make a soft “purring” sound when content and that can sound similar to snoring, turkeys do not snore when sleeping. And since they don’t snore, they also don’t have sleep apnea.


References:

Mitze S, Barrs VR, Beatty JA, Hobi S, Bęczkowski PM. Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome: much more than a surgical problem. Vet Q. 2022;42(1):213-223.doi:10.1080/01652176.2022.2145621


Chopra S, Polotsky VY, Jun JC. Sleep Apnea Research in Animals. Past, Present, and Future.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2016;54(3):299-305.doi:10.1165/rcmb.2015-0218TR


Robin. I.G. Section of Laryngology.Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. November. 1968; 61.https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/003591576806100617


Cudmor B. Can Hummingbirds Snore? Audubon. March 2015.https://www.audubon.org/news/can-hummingbirds-snore



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