The Emu is a very large and soft-feathered, flightless bird native to Australia and is second only in size to the ostrich. They have long thin necks and legs, and can reach a height of up to 7 ft.

Emu illustration
Until the eighteenth century there were several species of Emu in Australia, each living on a separate island. Sadly, populations were exterminated on Tasmania, Kangaroo, and other small islands by the early settlers. They were killed for both their flesh and for the oil that could be extracted from their carcases. The oil was considered valuable as it was used in the production if medicines and for lighting.

Their legs are among the strongest of any animal, enabling emus to travel great distances at a fast, economical trot. If need be they are able to sprint at over 30 mph!

They can travel long distances to find food and have been known to go for weeks without food. They feed on a variety of plants and insects, and will also ingest stones, glass shards and bits of metal to grind food in the digestive system. They drink infrequently, but can take in copious fluids when the opportunity arises.

What is an emu?
Emus will sit in water and are also able to swim. They are curious birds who are known to follow and watch other animals and humans. Emus do not sleep continuously at night but in several short stints sitting down.

The Emu is a sociable bird that predominantly travel in pairs but will quite happily live in small groups, except during the mating season. Occasionally several groups may band together to form a large herd several thousand strong.

The emu is well adapted to a nomadic lifestyle, remaining in one place only when the male is incubating the eggs

For related article click onto the following links:
What do Emu's eat?
What is an Emu?

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