Emu

Three Emu Chicks Take a Stroll with Dad at Berlin Zoo

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Three little Emu chicks recently hatched at the Berlin Zoo. Emu pairs breed from October to April, usually producing one emerald green egg every three days which hatches in about 48 to 52 days. Chicks can walk within hours and run within days. And they grow rapidly, gaining their full height by one year of age.

An interesting fact: after the mother hen lays and incubates the egg, she has nothing more to do with raising her chicks. All of those duties are taken up by the father, seen here out walking with them. They are hardy birds, flightless and strong runners. In time, they will be able to reach ground speeds of up to 40 miles per hour in short bursts and covering about nine feet in stride. 

The Emu is native to Australia, and is the country's national bird. They are the second largest bird in the world, the first being the Ostrich. The adult Emu measure 5 to 6 feet tall and weighs between 90 to 120 pounds. They hatch at about 10 inches tall, sporting black and white stripes. By 3 months old, the chicks turn an almost solid black. Finally, by the time they reach adulthood, their feathers have changed to an elegant, downy mix of tan, brown, and black (some have a bluish neck).

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Photo Credit: Berlin Zoo


Second That Emu-tion!

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed two Emu chicks on February 5th and 6th. Emu belong in the Ratite Order a diverse group of flightless birds like Ostriches, Rheas, Cassowary and Kiwis.  Dark green in color, Emu eggs are roughly 5 inches long. Busch Gardens keepers were able to know when they were about to hatch by pressing their ears to the shell and listening for the baby emu tapping on the inside.

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Photo credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Once the keepers realized the babies were soon to hatch, they moved them both to an incubator at the Animal Care Center.  Once hatched, baby Emu are about 5 inches tall and have a unique striping pattern -- in the wild, this camouflages them from predators.