Emu - Curious, Large and Docile


emu head

 

The emu is the second largest bird on the earth if you go by height, the ostrich being a bit larger. It is the national bird of Australia and is native to Australia although after importation they are also found in the USA although mainly on farms and zoos.

The emu is an ancient creature and is believed to have existed for as many as 80 million years. In the past aboriginal tribes relied on this species to survive as they ate its meat and used its skin and feathers for warmth and clothing.

 

 

emu wild

 

The emu is a people-friendly, docile species with a curious nature. The adult emu can reach up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and usually weighs between 90 and 120 pounds (40-55 kg). As with many flightless birds this species are extremely fast on the ground and can reach speeds of up to 40 mph (65 kph) although only in short bursts.

Emus can thrive in various temperatures and have been known to withstand temperatures below zero. Emus will eat nearly anything but are not predatory. Their main diet consists of fruits, grains, insects and plants. They don't drink water very often but when they do they fill up, like camels do.

 

emu with young

 

Emus find their mates during the summer months but don’t breed until it gets cooler. The male of the species builds the nest ready for the eggs and the female lays an egg every other day until there are about eight or ten eggs. The male is responsible for incubating the eggs and uses his accumulated body fat to survive as he never leaves the nest. In fact, his only movement is to stand up a few times a day to reposition himself. Sadly, despite his best efforts emus often lose a number of the clutch to eagles, hawks and other large predators. Their chicks are fully mature at around 12 to 14 months but stay with their family group for another 6 months usually until they feel ready to split up and breed themselves.

 

emu chick and eggs

 

emu chicks blue eggs

 

Emus often travel in pairs, sometimes solitary and in loose flocks. They don’t habitually choose to live in flocks though, this just happens when they all congregate in the same area to eat.

 

 

 

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