Friday, October 21, 2011

Emus - Good Fathers

Unlike most species of birds, young emus are cared for and raised by their fathers. After laying their eggs, female emus immediately leave the nest to mate with another male, leaving the expecting father in charge of incubation. For 8 weeks after the eggs have been laid the male will cease from eating or drinking and survive only on stored body fat. He will only stand up about 10 times per day to turn them. Once hatched, the chicks will continue to be cared for by their father until roughly 9 months of age.
Wild Emus only exist in Australia, where they are quite common in wooded areas or locations with reliable water sources. They are the second largest extant bird in the word, with only the ostrich being larger. Emus are brown in color and can stand up to six and a half feet tall, weighing anywhere from 40 to 120lbs. Although they do have small wings emus are not capable of flight. Rather, they flap their wings when running to stabilize their bodies at the 30mph+ speeds they can attain.
Emu Chick
Emus are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. Their diet includes a large variety of plants, grains and insects, all depending on habitat or seasonal availability. Emus also eat a lot of rocks. They do this because pebbles and stones help them digest plant material. An emu will usually have over a pound of pebbles in its stomach at any one time. Emus can go several days without water, and weeks without food, but will indulge frequently in both if a reliable source is present.

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