Emu

 

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Range: Western Australia

Habitat: Open Grasslands 

Natural Diet: Emus eat fruits, seeds, growing shoots of plants, insects, other small animals, and animal droppings.

Diet at RainForest:

Size: 70" tall up to 125 pounds 

RainForest Facts: Emus are Australia's largest bird, and the second largest bird in the world.  Only the Ostrich from Africa grows larger and taller than the Emu. 

The Emu can be found living over most of mainland Australia, it does tend to avoid heavily populated human areas as well as extremely dry deserts.  The Emu can travel great distances at an extremely fast pace, not quite a run but a consistent gait.   When startled the Emu can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.  

The Emu subspecies that previously inhabited Tasmania became extinct after the European settlement of Australia in 1788; and the distribution of the mainland subspecies has been influenced by human activities. Once common on the east coast, Emu are now uncommon; by contrast, the development of human farming activities is actually helping the Emu extend it's range into otherwise inhospitable parts of the outback thanks to water and grazing areas provided by agriculture. 

Emus mate during the coolest months of May and June.  The adults for pairs that will actually remain together for periods of up to five months. 

 The Emu will open it's mouth and pant similar to a dog when the weather is very warm.  This panting helps the emu cool off!

An amazing adaptation of the Emu is very similar to male Penguins incubating the eggs of their mates.  The male Emu actually begins to brood the eggs once his mate starts to produce eggs.  The male will actually begin to incubate the eggs before the laying period is complete.  Once the male begins the brooding process he will not eat, drink or defecate, and stands only to turn the eggs, which he does about 10 times a day. Over eight weeks of incubation, he will lose a third of his weight and will survive only on stored body-fat and on any morning dew that he can reach from the nest.   In captivity the male Emu is an extremely dangerous animal when brooding eggs.  A well placed kick from a powerful adult male can actually kill a human being. 

Incubation of Emu eggs is generally 56 days. 

 

 

 

 

  The Emu belongs to a rare family of flightless birds, the ratites, this family includes the spectacular Cassowary, a giant flightless bird with stunning colors. 

Can you name the other members of this elite family of birds?