Overdevelopment to blame for turkey terror in NJ, animal cop says
TOMS RIVER — An aggressive group of 40 to 60 wild turkeys are “terrorizing” residents in the Holiday City section of Toms River and Berkeley Heights, residents tell News 12 New Jersey.
They have been blocking driveways, acting aggressively and even biting, residents told News 12. Video shows them on the roofs of homes and walking down a street together.
Why are they so aggressive? Just like bears and deer, they've lost their natural homes and less of them are hunted, according to Ross Licitra, executive director of the Monmouth County SPCA and Chief of Humane Law Enforcement for the Prosecutor's Office.
Licitra said that cases of aggressive wild turkeys have been on the rise in the past few years. While they may come across as scary, he said they're "harmless."
He suggested anyone concerned about wild turkeys should contact police, who will dispatch animal control officers.
DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said that the Division of Fish & Wildlife is working with a resident who raised concerns and the development’s homeowner’s association to gather information.
"The Division of Fish and Wildlife has offered to trap the birds but so far has not been granted access to a large enough open area to set traps," Hajna said.
Hajna offered advice to those with aggressive wild turkeys on their property:
- Use a broom, garden hose or air horn to scare the birds and reinforce their natural fear of people.
- Do not feed any wild animals.
- Place cardboard over windows to prevent reflections. Tom turkeys may see their reflection in a window and may try to attack it, thinking it’s another tom.
New Jersey had one week of wild turkey hunting from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2. Hunters are allowed to kill one turkey per day.
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