The Emu is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest flightless birds. Is the largest bird native to Australia and the only living member of the genus Dromaius. It is the second-largest bird in the world by height, the largest being its ratite cousin the ostrich. Ratites are flightless birds of the superorder Palaeognathae.

Image credit - Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, F. Lambert
1. The emu is a soft-feathered, brown, flightless bird that can reach a height of just under 7ft.

2. Emus do not sleep continuously at night but in several short stints sitting down.

3. Emu's can sprint at over 30 mph, and their long legs allow them to take strides of up to 9 ft in length.

4. Emu's can swim!

5. The emu's legs are among the strongest of any animal. They use their strongly clawed feet as a defence mechanism, and they are even strong enough to rip metal wire fences.

6. Emus can live between 10 and 20 years in the wild.

7. Emu's are preyed upon by dingos, eagles and hawks. They can jump and kick to avoid dingos, but they can only run and swerve against eagles and hawks.

8. The emu was an important source of meat to Aboriginal Australians.

9. Emu fat was used as bush medicine, and was rubbed on the skin. It also served as a valuable lubricant. It was mixed with ochre to make the traditional paint for ceremonial body adornment, as well as to oil wooden tools and utensils such as the coolamon -a small multi-purpose shallow vessel with curved sides, and similar in shape to a canoe.

10. Emus do not sleep continuously at night but in several short stints sitting down.

11. Male and female emus are similar in appearance, although the male's penis can become visible when it defecates.

12. The emu has two sets of eyelids. The second set moves from the end of the eye closest to the beak to cover the other side. This is used as a protective visor protecting its eyes from dust and grit caught in the strong desert winds.

Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, F. Lambert file is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.

For related article click onto the following links:
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What is an Emu?

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