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Quick Facts About The White Emus of Timbavati Wildlife Park

By Chris Taylor Monday, May 1, 2017

The rare white emu is a resident of Australia is the second largest bird in the world. It avoids living in dense forests, areas populated by humans and arid terrains. They have been spotted in deserts but they are much more common near water supplies. Emus are part of the Ratite family which include ostrich, rhea, kiwi, cassowary, and the recently extinct Moa.

Far as I can tell the emu really only has beef with the Dingo. Everything you read about the emu has them seeking to avoid dingos at all costs. With a top sprint speed of up to 30 miles per hour, the ability to stride 9 feet and a 7 foot vertical, the emu is a tough character to corral if you are a predator. Large reptiles like alligators can also be an issue for our feathery friend.

Breeding Habits

A pair of emu will breed in the summer and a female can lay a clutch of up to 15 eggs at a time. When the female lays her eggs she wanders off and the father tends to the clutch. A female can lay up to 3 clutches in a season and sometime will lay her eggs in another emu’s nest and let a surrogate father tend to the clutch.

The male stays with the nest for about 8 weeks, until the clutch hatches. In this period he rarely leaves the nest and as a result of this loses a lot of his fat reserves. The chicks are born “precocial” which means they are pretty well functional at birth taking only a few minutes before they take their first steps. They stay with their father for up to 18 months while he teaches them how to hunt and avoid those pesky dingos.

The emu is a great swimmer and also an omnivore. They eat plants, new grass shoots, insects, lizards and fruit. The average lifespan of an emu is 10 to 20 years in the wild.  At birth this bird is less than a foot tall and grows to be about 6 feet tall. weighing up to 120 pounds, this majestic bird is a great addition to the fauna of Timbavati Wildlife Park.

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