Emus on the Loose


In Hanover, VA an emu remains on the loose (as of this day). The emu was last spotted in a park with a sign that clearly states “All Animals Must Be Leashed,” so this emu is breaking local city code but likely doesn’t care. There are emu farms but none especially nearby. No one knows where this emu is from.  It’s cold and wintery in Virginia. The greatest concern is for the bird’s welfare. Emus eat various seeds, fruits and plants, as well as insects and small lizards but none are especially available right now in Virginia. A spooked emu, which can stand just over 6-feet high and are native to Australia, can run away at 25 to 30 miles-per-hour. Though not normally aggressive to people (in fact, they can easily be tamed), a swift kick can do damage.


There’s been a similar problem since Super Bowl Sunday in Highlands County, FL where another emu of unknown origin is on the loose. At least there’s perspective food where this wayward big bird is located.

Cassowary claws

Emus are members of the ratite avian family, as are the ostrich (Africa), rhea (South America), cassowary (Australia, New Guinea) and kiwi (New Zealand). It is true that all these flightless birds can be aggressive and dangerous to humans if angered (except the chicken-sized kiwi). However, it is not the emu but the cassowary that is considered the most dangerous bird (to humans). At about 5’6″ to 6-feet, they are shorter than the ostrich or emu however they’re big enough, and are the most aggressive ratite. Their talons are sharp daggers which can which can literally rip a person to shreds. In fact, those talons are about identical to the velociraptors who star in the Jurassic Park movies, and that’s not surprising as cassowaries are direct descendents. So, be grateful it’s emus on the loose, not cassowaries.