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Bird. The emu is Australia's largest bird, standing about 2 meters (6 feet) tall, and weighing up to 54 kg (120 lb). Emus cannot fly but they are fast runners - up to 48 km (30 mi) per hour. Surprisingly, they are also strong swimmers. Some scientists consider emus to be living dinosaurs because their bones and joints are similar to dinosaurs'. Their ability to store fat allows them to go without food for long periods of time. Emus can defend themselves with tremendously powerful forward kicks. They eat great quantities of caterpillars, grasshoppers, and masses of the burrs that tangle sheep wool, which makes them helpful to farmers.
Scientific Name Lifespan
Dromaius novaehollandiae 5-10 years in the wild
Omnivore. Flowers, fruits, seeds, shoots, large insects (caterpillars are a favorite), lizards, and small rodents. They also swallow large pebbles to grind up food in their gizzards.
Predators and Threats
Dingoes, eagles, dogs, cats, non-native foxes, and humans. Lizards eat eggs.
Woods, scrubland, grassland and desert areas, but not rainforest; Australia.