Emu

Dromaius novaehollandiae

Classification


Domain Eukarya:

All animals are multicellular or unicellular, includes Kindom Animalia, Kingdom Protista, Kingdom Fungi, and Kindom Plantae. All cells are eukaryotic and have a nucleus.

Kingdom Animalia:

All animals are classified in the Kingdom Animalia, all animals are multicellular, all animals are heterotrophs (they get their energy by consuming other animals), and they all lack cell walls.

Phylum Chordata:

Members of this phylum have bilateral symmetry, a segmented body, a full digestive system, and usually have some sort of endoskeleton.

Class Aves:

Animals who belong to this class have no teeth inside their horny beak, have a large muscular stomach, have feathers, and a strong skeleton.

Order Struthioniformes:

The members of this order are emus, cassowaries, kiwis, ostriches, and rheas.

Family Dromaiidae:

The only member of this family is the emu.

Genus Dromaius:

The only member of this genus is the emu.

Species novaehollandiae:

Emus have 3 forward-facing toes on each foot, are the only birds with calf muscles which makes them more adapted to sprinting and long distance running (can run as fast as 13.4 m/s (meters/second), and are capable of extremely powerful kicks.

General Information

The average weight of an emu is 36-40 kilograms. The average height of an emu is 175 cm and the maximum height is 190 cm. The average length of an emu is 1.75 meters long and the maximum length is 1.9 meters long.

Diet

  • Plants
  • Fruits
  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Grasses
  • Leaves
  • Blossoms
  • Invertebrates (especially grasshoppers and caterpillars
  • Can go without food for weeks
  • Ingest stones, glass, and shards/bits of metal to grind up food in digestive system
  • Do not drink water frequently

Natural Range

You could find emus almost everywhere in Australia, in forests with sclerophyll which is a type of vegetation that has hard leaves and a short distance between leaves along the stem, and in savanna woodlands which are woodlands with trees that are really spread out widely, allowing necessary light to reach the ground full of grasses.

Predators

  • Dingos- emus can jump and kick to avoid dingos.
  • Eagles- emus can only run and swerve when being attacked or seen by eagles.
  • Hawks- emus can only run and swerve when being attacked or seen by hawks.

Colors On An Emu

  • Pale Blue
  • Brown
  • Grey-brown
  • Black
  • White
  • On baby emus, they have white stripes on their back.
  • Adaptations

    Physical Adaptations:
    • When sleeping, an emu's feathers direct any rain down the moud-like body and go into the ground when an emu is sleeping while it is raining. This probably helps to keep the emu warmer at night sinse the emu would be pretty dry because of its feathers.
    • Emus are able to sprint at a rate of 31 mph. This would help them escape predators.
    • Emus have strongly clawed feet which they use as a defense mechanism when being attacked by a predator.
    • They are one of the animals with the strongest legs in the world. This helps them when dealing with predator attacks because they can kick their enemies with mighty kicks.
    • Emus have good eyesight and hearing which allows them to detect nearby predators.
    • The feather structure of an emu protects the emu from heat because the heat is not able to flow into the skin. This allows the emu to be active during midday heat to get food or other needs.


    Behavioral Adaptations:

    • Emus frequently eat partly digested particles of food from fresh poop. Sometimes they do this so that emu chicks can get nutrients in situations where food is scarce.
    • Some people believe that emus sleep in a mound-like position as camouflage meant to mimic a small hill. If this is true, then it would help protect emus from predators spotting the emu while it is sleeping.
    • Emus ingest stones, glass shards, and bits of metal to grind up the food they ate. This could help them so that their stomach doesn't ache. If their stomach aches, they might not be active at that time and it would be hard to get away from a predator if they had a stomach ache.
    • An emu can awake up to 8 times a night in order to feed or avoid a predator attack.

    Other Facts About Emus

    • The emu is the largest bird native to Australia and is the second-tallest, still existing, bird in the world.
    • Emus have long, thin necks and legs.
    • Emus are able to travel great distances at a fast rate and, if necessary, are able to sprint at a speed of 31 mph.
    • Emus are able to swim.
    • They are curious birds. They are known to follow and watch other animals and even humans.
    • Emus do not sleep continuously at night.
    • Males and females are tricky to distinguish but you can tell them apart by the noises they make.
    • An emu's feather structure protects the emu from heat because the heat is not able to flow into the skin.
    • As a defense mechanism, an emu will use its strongly clawed legs. Their legs are the one of the strongest legs of any animal in the world. Their legs are able to rip metal wore fences.
    • Emus have good eyesight and hearing, allowing them to detect nearby predators.

    References

    Burton, M., & Burton, R. (2002). Emu. In International wildlife encyclopedia (AAR-BAR) (3rd ed., Vol. 6, pp. 782-784). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.


    "Emu." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 3 Feb 2015, 18:17 UTC. 9 Mar 2015 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Emu&oldid=650351441>.


    Shorter, G. 2012. "Dromaius novaehollandiae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Dromaius_novaehollandiae/