When was the last time you saw an Ostrich? Probably at the zoo. I believe that everyone should go to the zoo at least every 32 months and should not go to the same zoo more than twice in a row. Even if it is just a small game preserve or local aquarium, go support them. Animals are important because they exist. You are an animal, never forget that. I simultaneously posted about the origins of Animal Fact Friday so here is the inaugural post.
Today we dive into the world of ostriches. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. They’re goofy looking. They have massive eyes that provide great long distance vision. They’re tall, lanky, awkward, sound funny, and look like what happens when a turkey, camel, and giraffe somehow have a threesome that results in a weird crossbreed (yes, I know that’s not how threesomes or genetics work).
They are also spectacular. Can they fly? No. But flying doesn’t make you a bird, just ask penguins. They can run at speeds up to 70 km/h! Do you know how many mph that is? It doesn’t matter, km/h is much more impressive. But seriously, it’s pretty damn fast.
Do you know how they do this? Well their legs are beastly. Not only do these lanky legs propel ostriches at great speeds, they are so powerful that they can take down predators, including humans! What you really need to be asking yourself is what the greater force is: a roundhouse kick from an ostrich or a roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris. Hopefully, the world never has to find out.
Do you know they their necks are so long? Neither do I. Personally, I didn’t find it all that important. I don’t judge Anthony Davis or another non-basketball player with an oddly long neck. So I won’t judge an ostrich. They need to bury their head in the sand and shit.
Speaking of burying their heads, they don’t actually do it. I just used that example to prove a point about stereotypes; they’re not all true. But really, that would be suicide. Maybe I’ll do an animal fact post about other animals (besides humans) that commit suicide but it is very unlikely for obvious reasons. Ostriches do build up nests in the sand which I guess could be misconstrued for burying their heads. If they did bury their heads, could you really blame them? Do I wish I had some sand to bury my head in sometimes? Metaphorically, sure. Literally, no. I hate sand on, around, or near my body. But I love the sound of the beach…
Back to the beautiful creatures of the hour. Ostriches have 2 toes, instead of 4 like most birds. This creates a more hoof-like foot instead of a claw which allows them to run so fast which makes sense. Horses have hooves, horses are fast. Deer have hooves, deer are fast .Full disclosure, pigs have hooves and are obviously not quite as fast, but move past that. At these top speeds, ostriches also use they’re massive 6+ foot wingspan as a rudder to balance and turn.
Also different from most birds, and probably my favorite ostrich fact, they urinate and produce feces separately. Yea, most birds do it together because they are filthy animals that don’t deserve to own the sky. Ostriches are much more down to earth. I think this makes them very relatable.
But to finish up on a better note, female ostriches will remain part of a heard and lay eggs in a communal nest but can always tell their eggs apart. I think that’s beautiful. I’m not really sure 10 humans could pick out their baby from a pack of 10 newborns. They also conserve water well (ostriches, not humans), so they’ll be fine as we keep screwing up the earth’s climate. But seriously, their populations are dwindling so support your local zoos or game preserves or just watch some ostrich videos online. They are the world’s largest birds and they are truly amazing. You can put a saddle on them and ride them. If there is anything we love as humans, it is riding other animals.
In conclusion, I think it is worth noting out that I did compete for the Notre Dame Wild Emus basketball team in 7th grade. What are the similarities between Emus and Ostriches? Aside from the fact that we (Emus) were champions, it is kind of like horses and donkeys. They’re similar…but…you know….something isn’t quite right.
Hope you enjoyed the inaugural Animal Fact Friday and remember to check out our nonsense origin story for some context.