This is a cool bird who can’t fly. Their lack of luster in the air is made up for by an impressive land speed, and a “Don’t Ignore Me” attitude! An emu can run fast. Really fast. 50km/h fast! At full pace, each step can span 2.7m and they can jump 2.1m straight up. Impressive right? By height, our emu is the second largest bird in the world, beaten out of first place by the African ostrich! They stand tall at 1.75m and male emus can weigh 55 kilos – not a lot of weight in those skinny little legs.
They’re built to tough it out in the harsh Australian desert heat and can survive for around 2 months without food, but do need up to 18 liters of water a day.
An emu has a powerful kick with exceptional hearing and sight. They can live around 20 years in the wild, and up to 35 years in the zoo. They love to take a dip in the water. They are very inquisitive. They are considered intelligent and curious.
While the female is dominant during courtship, the male looks after the emerald-green eggs for 2 months. 3 days after hatching, the little ones can take off on their own, though they usually stay near dad for about 18 months. While they are little, they are easy prey for dingos, wedge-tailed eagles, and snakes. They have 13-14 liters of oil in their body, farmed for lotions, soaps, shampoo, and health care products. A group of emus is called a MOB or a herd.
Together with Mr. & Mrs. Kangaroo, our Emu has the honor of representing Australia on her ‘Coat of Arms’. Both have the inability to move backward – can only move forwards, representing the Aussie spirit of ‘moving on’.