The emu is the largest bird native to Australia and the second largest bird in the world, behind the ostrich. The emu is most commonly found in wooded areas however, emus are common all over Australia.
Studies show that emus seem to avoid dense forests and largely populated areas, as this means that the emu can be more aware of its surroundings. Although the emu does prefer to be in woodland or shrubland where there is plenty to eat as well as cover, they like to know exactly what is around them.
In Australia, there are enormous emu farms where the emu is bred for meat, oil and leather. Emu oil is said to hold medicinal healing properties when rubbed onto painful joints and is commonly used across the world mainly for sports injuries but also arthritis.
Emus can grow to nearly two meters tall and have extremely soft feathers. Emus are flightless birds mainly due to their enormous size, which means that they are just too heavy to fly. Emus are nomadic animals which means that they rarely stay in the same place for long.
This travelling lifestyle means that the emu can make the most of the food that is available, and emus are known to travel long distances in order to find more food. Emus are omnivorous birds feeding mainly on fruits, seeds and insects. Emus are generally found close to water and are therefore not keen on more arid regions.
However, the introduction of better water supplies to inland Australia has meant that despite the population decrease of the wild emu, their range has expanded. Emus have long necks and long legs in comparison to their body size.
The long, flexible legs of the emu mean that the emu is able to run at high speeds, with emus generally running at around 25 mph. Emus however, are able to reach a top speed of 30 mph in short bursts should the emu need to get away quickly from a dangerous situation.
Keywords to learn
Comparison: When compared.
Versatile: able to adapt easily.
Hey Kids, my name is Everett the Emu and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ http://www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Key Emu Data:
Lifespan:12 – 20 years.
Scientific Name:Dromaius Novaehollandiae.
Mass:18kg – 60kg. (40lbs – 132lbs)
Length:1.5m – 1.9m. (4.9ft – 6.2ft)
Population Status:Least concern.
Current population trend:Stable.
Sexual maturity:2-3 years.
Emus are quite strange and awkward looking, as they are so big for a bird that does not fly. Yes, a bird that doesn’t fly, but a bird all the same.
Now that you know more about the emu by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about how the emu here: Emu (answers are on this page)
Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on Stars. Click on Kidskonnect Worksheets
Emu Fun Facts for Kids:
- # 1. Emus form breeding pairs during the Australian summer and mating usually occurs when the climate becomes cooler a few months later. The female emu can lay up to 20 eggs, (although 12 is the average number) that hatch after a couple of months.
- # 2. The male emu eats very little throughout the breeding process and it is he that incubates the eggs. By the time the emu chicks hatch, the male emu has lost a considerable amount of body weight and lives of his fat reserves.
- # 3. Emus have few predators due to their large size and fast speed. Emus are most commonly preyed upon by wild dogs and crocodiles and are hunted by humans. Emu eggs are eaten by many animals including dogs, birds of prey and large reptiles.
- # 4. Emus are known to be very versatile animals and can easily adapt to many different environments.
- # 5. Emus have two sets of eyelids, one for blinking and the other for keeping the dust out!
- # 1. How tall can an emu grow to?
- # 2. What do emus mainly eat?
- # 3. At what age do emus sexually mature?
- # 4. What are the natural predators to emu eggs?
- # 5. How many eyelids does the emu have and what are their uses?