Ostrich Farm Aruba
Ostriches and Emus: The Facts


Getting acquainted with ostriches...

What you didn't know about the Ostrich

  • Ostriches are the largest and heaviest birds in the world!
  • Aruba is a perfect place for Ostriches to live.
  • Although they cannot fly, ostriches sure can run! They are the fastest-running birds, reaching speeds of up to 43 mph (70 km/h)! At this speed, they are the only animals that can outrun leopards!
  • Obviously, the amazing speed of the ostrich is helpful in outrunning predators, but the ostrich can also use its powerful legs to kick like a kangaroo. In fact, its kick is strong enough to kill a lion. Ostriches can also defend themselves with a 4-inch claw on each foot.
  • Ostrich brains are as big as a walnut and smaller than their eyes. They are not particularly intelligent, but with the largest eyeball of any bird, they can see as far as 2.2 miles (3.5 km).
  • Ostrich meat is red meat, like beef, and is the healthiest meat you can eat while low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein.
  • An adult ostrich carries about 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of stones in its gizzard (second stomach). Yes, stones! Since ostriches do not have teeth, they eat stones which help to grind their food when it reaches the gizzard.
  • Ostriches can tolerate temperature differences of 104 F (40 C)! They prosper in climates between 86 F and -22 F (30 C and -30 C).
  • Ostriches can live up to the age of 70 years, with 50 being typical.
  • The ostrich male roars like a lion!
  • When a pair of ostriches bearing the young meets another pair, the parents will fight and the winning pair will be parents of both pairs' offspring. It has been reported that the biggest group of ostriches contains 300 offspring!
  • It has been discovered that the cornea of the ostrich eye can be used to replace the human cornea.
  • During the 18th century, the French queen, Marie Antoinette, popularized the fashion of wearing a feather in one's hat. Women searched for the most beautiful feathers, leading them to the ostrich. Hunting these birds became a large-scale enterprise world-wide. Ostriches were on the verge of extinction, but then a savior came—the automobile. Ostrich feathers flowed beautifully when ladies pranced around on horses. But in the automobile, the feathers became a mess. And so the fashion fell out of use, thus saving the ostrich!

What about their cousins?

  • The emu is the second largest bird in the world!
  • Aruba is a perfect place for Emus to live.
  • Emus can sprint up to 31 mph (50 km/h), so they are not as fast as their primary predators, wild cats. However, they have a special advantage over the cats. As a cat is racing full speed after an emu and just about to catch it, the emu will raise one of its wings upward and point the other towards the earth. This causes the emu to swivel around almost 180 degrees—still at top speed—and it takes off in a different direction. The cat cannot turn this quickly, and its momentum will keep it going for about 30 yards, by which time the emu is far away. Over time, the cat will tire and give up the chase.
  • Emus are the only birds with gastrocnemius muscles (calf muscles) in the back of the lower legs.
  • The male incubates the eggs, and from this time on, he does not eat, drink, or defecate, and stands only to turn the eggs about 10 times a day.
  • Emus live between 10 and 20 years.
  • They can swim when necessary.
  • Their call consists of loud booming, drumming, and grunting sounds that can be heard up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away.
  • Emu meat is red, like beef, and is low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Emu fat is rendered to produce oil for cosmetics as well as dietary and therapeutic products.
  • There is some evidence that the oil has anti-inflammatory properties.

Sources of information:
"Birds: Ostrich" - San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes. Zoological Society of San Diego.
"Facts about Birds and Eggs" - Eggscape.
"Ostrich" - Wikipedia.