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What Is The Difference Between An Emu And An Ostrich?

Emus and Ostriches have to be some of the strangest creatures on our planet. Aside from the fact that they each are birds and cannot fly, most people know nothing about them except for their external appearances. So what exactly are the differences between these odd creatures? Here, we’ll examine the main differences between the two.

Main Differences

One of the biggest difference is their variation in height, but how tall can these things get? Well, the Emu comes in at a respectable 6.2 feet for maximum height. But the bird known as the Ostrich can grow anywhere from 6 feet tall to a staggering and imposing 9 feet.

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To give you some perspective on that, the world’s tallest man ever, Robert Wadlow stood at a massive 8ft 11.1 inches. This means that a fully grown Ostrich would still outstretch him by at least 0.9 inches. Considering how large either of these creatures could get, it’s completely understandable to scream bloody murder when they get their beaks near your face.

As for their running speed, an Emu can get to at least 31 miles per hour. Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has been clocked as having run at least 27.44 miles per hour, just 4 shy of the large bird’s top speed.

The massive 9-foot Ostrich can hit at its topmost speed 40 miles per hour. That’s likely the reason it takes so long for a safari jeep to get away from an Ostrich.

Incubation of Eggs and Nurturing of Hatchlings

When it comes to nurturing the egg to maturity, all females do is simply lay their eggs is the nest. It is actually the duty of the males of each pair to sit and keep the egg warm until it hatches. During this time, the male hardly eats and is concerned almost entirely with the incubation of the clutch of eggs. In about six months, the emu is fully matured and may stay with its parents until it is another year old.

For the two Ostrich species, the female will lay eggs in the nest and nurture their shelled babies. After the sun goes down, it is up to the male of the species to keep the ‘handful of eggs’ warm.

What is an Emu?

Because of its height, as mentioned above, it is the second largest bird species in existence. The creature is native to Australia, but three other species resided on the Tasmanian Island, Kangaroo Island, and King Island. Those species were driven to extinction by the time people from Europe officially settled the continent in 1788.

The Emu is as much of a patriotic symbol for Australia as the Bald Eagle is to the United States. Many stories from the Aboriginal people feature the bird at the forefront of the tales. It falls into the same category of flightless bird as the kiwi.

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What is an Ostrich?

The largest of any bird species, there are two types in the entire world: the common Ostrich and the Somali Ostrich. Somali Ostrich appears to have evolved in concentrated numbers in the Horn of Africa. It is not uncommon to see the common Ostrich in the same habitat. While they are in close proximity to each other, there is no evidence of interspecies breeding between the two types.

There were once ‘Arabian Ostriches’ that roamed through Asia Minor, a great portion of which is now the modern-day country of Turkey. But as humans do, in all our great wisdom, the creatures were hunted to extinction by the time the first half of the 20th century was over.

Only once has it ever been attempted to re-introduce the common Ostrich to that same area. The ensuing failure ensured such a project would not be undertaken again.

Common Ostriches that managed to escape currently roam the Australian outback in feral groups.

At one point Ostriches may have existed in China, but supposedly went extinct before the last ice age officially ended. There have even been ‘prehistoric pottery’ fragments adorned with images of the flightless birds.

Occurrences in Media

Recently, a popular insurance brand has taken to using an Emu as their main ‘spokesbird.’ While certainly odd, the way they make the Emu freak out at his reflection is hilarious.

Ostriches racing was seen in Jake Gyllenhal’s Prince of Persia and are occasionally held in the same region today.

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For those of you into video games, would Ostrich races be the next best thing to Chocobo Racing?

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