The Emu is tall and powerful but, at the same time, fuzzy and flightless. It’s nonsocial but friendly and curious. And get this, their favourite hobby is to run up behind an unsuspecting animal or person… to poke them with their beaks and run off! This avian native of Australia is one of many quirks. Let’s learn more about them with some emu facts for kids!
Fun Emu Facts
- The Emu can be found only in Australia and is unofficial; it’s the national bird.
- Although they are endemic to Australia, their name, ‘Emu’, is most probably of Arabic origin.
- Emus are the second largest birds in the world after the ostrich.
- Emus can live up to twenty years in the wild and forty years in captivity.
- Emus have two sets of eyelids. One set to blink with and one to keep dust out.
- Emus can grow up to two meters tall. That’s as tall as a door!
- Emus are omnivores. They eat grass and bugs, like grasshoppers.
- Emus can go two whole months without food.
- Emus swallow small stones to help crush and digest the food in their stomachs (gizzards).
- In 1932, the Great Emu war took place in Western Australia. It was an attempt by the Australian government’s military to contain the growing population of emus. The Emus won!
- An emu egg is the equivalent of 12 chicken eggs!! Ouch!
- Emus live in every state of Australia except Tasmania.
- Emu eggs are pale green when laid and turn dark green as they incubate.
- The male emus are in charge of making the nest, as well as incubating the eggs for eight whole weeks.
- While the male Emu incubates the eggs, he does not eat, drink or relieve himself. Talk about commitment!
- The male emus are also in charge of guarding the growing chicks for up to seven months.
- Emus have loud, low-frequency voices. Their deep voices sound like hollow drums and can be heard from two kilometres away.
- Emus can’t walk backwards.
- Emus appear on Australia’s 50-cent coin.
- Emus are the only birds with calf muscles – super strong calf muscles!
- Emus have three toes, allowing them to run fast (up to 50km/hour)! They are also excellent jumpers.
- Emus are flightless but can swim quite well.
Emu Sanctuaries in Brisbane
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – Located 12 kilometres from the central city of Brisbane and famously known for being the first koala sanctuary in the world, it is today a safe abode for several other wild animals. The refuge has three friendly emus you can see up close in the Kangaroo Reserve.
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – This sanctuary is just an hour south of Brisbane and is one of the most popular attractions on the Gold Coast. Today, it’s known for the hundreds of native species of wildlife it houses and it’s animal hospital. Back in the day, however, it was famous solely for its birds, so it’s only natural that you would still find emus here today!
- Brisbane kids can also see emus free of cost, just an hour southwest of Brisbane, at Ipswich Nature Centre.
Despite being a native animal and on the Australian coat of arms, the Emu is farmed for its meat, oil, skin and feathers.
Where you can see Emu in the wild
Emu’s exist all over Australia except Tasmania, but they can be elusive to visitors to Australia. Their nomadic nature means you can’t rely on there to be anywhere, even though they are seemingly everywhere. One thing is for sure, just because a place has the word “emu” in it doesn’t mean you will find emus there. They tend not to frequent urban areas, and you are more likely to see them in the outback and less populated areas which is the perfect reason to visit regional places in Australia!