Curious facts about Emu

Curious facts about Emu

When you think of animals endemic to Australia, the first one that comes to mind is the kangaroo. But this land is so rich in weird species that only inhabit its vast endless territory! That is the reason why we dedicated a whole collection of our wooden magnetic toys to Australia. We explored its animal species, and we designed a small four-piece collection to celebrate the Down Under. The Kangaroo, the Emu, the Dingo and the Koala make up our Australian family. With our Australian collection of eco-friendly, entirely handmade and sustainable animal puzzles, we want to teach our toddler collectors about the endemic Australian species. With our Australian collection, we want to inspire you to show your children the world of animals; here are some stories you can tell.

emu animal

photo credits: Jarman Gill, Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz, Doug Brown

We dedicated June to one of the endemic Australian animals: the Emu.
Sometimes, you think of an emu, but  you visualize an ostrich. They look similar but you should know that the Emu is only met in Australia. Ostriches are well presented in Africa as well. The Emu is a tall, flightless bird - it is a fast runner and a good swimmer. Here are some more curious stories you can tell your kids about it.

photo credits: Laura Reed

  • The word “emu” is not of Aboriginal origin. It is derived from the Arabic word for “a big bird”.
  • Emus are the second largest bird species in the world. Which is the largest? The ostrich of course! Emus can grow as tall as 2m. In nature, they live between ten and twenty years.
  • Emus have two sets of eyelids, one for blinking and the other one for keeping desert dust away.
  • The female lays the eggs, of course, but it's up to the male to do the rest of the job. For approximately 8 weeks the male broods over the big black eggs and also raises the chicks.
  • Emus are the only birds with calf muscles. Although they are flightless birds, they're fast runners, high jumpers, and strong swimmers. They can run up to 50km/h, faster than Usain Bolt but not faster than the kangaroos.
  • Emus are famous for being able to survive for weeks without food and they don’t drink water frequently.  They find water by following storm clouds.
  • Emus lie awake in bed before falling asleep. Their feathers lead rain away from their bodies as they  sleep. The famous zoologist Klaus Immelmann notes that, from a distance, a sleeping emu looks like an anthill, suggesting this trait may be an effective camouflage.
  • Some farmers see the birds as beneficial because they eat the burrs that stick to sheep’s wool as well as caterpillars and grasshoppers.

sources: Wikipedia, Treehugger, Folly-farm