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Are Emus Dangerous? (Truth Behind Their Aggression)

are emus dangerous

Are Emus Dangerous? (Truth Behind Their Aggression)

An emu is a flightless bird that has been around since the time of the dinosaurs. They are native to Australia and New Guinea, and they can grow up to 6 feet.

The question of whether emus are dangerous may arise just from the size of these enormous birds.

Emus are generally not considered dangerous to humans, although they can potentially cause harm if they feel threatened or if they are defending their young. In general, emus are shy and will try to avoid human contact, but they have been known to use their strong legs and sharp claws to kick and scratch as a means of protection.

Giving emus lots of room and avoiding getting too close to them (especially during the breeding season) is the best way to prevent potential problems.

When Do Emus Aggressive?

During the study of domesticated emus behavior, researchers observed only a few aggressive behaviors. Aggression was noticed only in male emus during the breading period.

The emus in question were known for their previously docile and calm temperament. However, during the breeding period, they experience increased levels of stress, leading to the manifestation of aggressive behavior.

On the other hand, wild emus are much more dangerous compared to captivated ones. When they feel cornered or threatened, their natural instinct is to attack in order to defend themselves.

Also, like it’s the case with most animals, emus can become aggressive when their young ones are threatened. Male emus are known to be fiercely protective of their chicks and will defend them against any potential predators or perceived threats, including humans.

Emus would act aggressively by rising up straight and puffing out their feathers around their neck regions to make themselves appear larger.

You can also notice a potentially dangerous emu when it is making hissing sounds.

Related: Are Owls Dangerous?

What Makes Emus Dangerous?

The main reason that makes emus dangerous is their size. Growing up to 6 feet tall, emus are the second-largest bird on the planet, right after their cousin, the ostrich.

As a result, emus possess some of the strongest legs in the animal kingdom, which can be used as formidable weapons. And they are the only birds with calf muscles.

With razor-sharp three-toed claws, a swift kick from an emu’s leg could inflict significant harm on any living creature, making them potentially dangerous despite their docile nature.

They are also super fast, running run up to 30 miles per hour, which allows them to close the distance between themselves and a perceived threat quickly.

are emus dangerous to humans

So what to do If you ever find yourself face-to-face with an emu?

Knowing how to interact with this giant bird safely is crucial. So, before getting too close, it’s essential to understand the best way to approach them.

To start, the key is to make the emu feel safe so that you are not perceived as a threat. The best way to do this is by kneeling down, which makes you appear less threatening. 

If the emu doesn’t want your attention, it may turn its head away or simply walk away. It’s vital not to follow the bird, as this could cause it to feel threatened and potentially lash out with its powerful legs.

By being mindful of their behavior and respecting their space, you can safely observe these fascinating creatures from a distance.

Related: Are Eagles Dangerous?

Do Emus Attack Humans?

Emus have a reputation for being aggressive and unfriendly towards humans, but this is far from the truth. In most cases, emus are docile and calm around humans and won’t attack unless provoked.

While stories of emu attacks on humans are not uncommon, it’s important to understand the context behind these incidents. 

As mentioned, emus will only become aggressive if they feel threatened, particularly when protecting their young or egg nests. In some other instances, humans have been injured after provoking or disturbing the birds.

There have been documented cases of wild emus attacking humans, such as a recent incident in Queensland, Australia, where a woman was hit in the head by a wild emu. 

However, these types of incidents are rare and usually occur when humans approach too closely or try to interact with the birds inappropriately.

For example, attempting to ride an emu, as one man did, can result in serious injury from their powerful claws. Nevertheless, in the majority of cases, emus will not attack humans unless provoked. 

You will be safe by treating these majestic birds with respect and caution.

Are Emus Dangerous to Livestock?

This question is often asked by farm owners. And there is no right answer to that.

Emus are solitary animals. In the wild, they travel in flocks only when they are looking for food or migrating. They are not very social birds.

When it comes to relations with livestock, there are lots of considerations that go into the equation. First, emus require big running areas with fencing security.

On the other hand, emu chicks that are raised alongside other animals often get along with them and even form bonds with them.

But, the addition of new livestock can trigger aggressive behavior in adult emus. And they can potentially be dangerous. There are cases when emus injured and even killed other livestock by stomping on them.

The only way to introduce any new animal to the emus (including other emus) is by slowly familiarizing them with the newcomers. Keeping them separate until the presence of the new livestock does not excite an emu.

Emus need to get familiar with any new living thing coming into their territory – and as time passes by, they tend to accept them.

This process should be done very carefully, and it can take weeks and even months.

Read Also: Are Vultures Dangerous?


Do Emus Bite?

While they can use their beaks as means of protection, emus, however, primarily use their legs as defensive tools, not their beaks. 

Can an Emu Kill a Person?

A fully adult emu is capable of inflicting deadly injuries. However, there has not been a confirmed case of an emu directly attacking and killing a human. But, there have been instances where people have tragically lost their lives in collisions with emus on the road.

What Are Emus Scared of?

Emus are naturally wary of humans and will often avoid contact if possible. They are also afraid of predators in their habitat, such as crocodiles, dingoes, and wild dogs. Also, emus are sensitive to sudden movements or loud noises, which can startle them and cause them to react defensively. 

In Summary

To summarize, emus are naturally calm and gentle birds that are not dangerous to humans. However, if they feel threatened, emus will defend themselves, which may result in aggressive behavior. At the end of the day, all animals, including emus, can be dangerous.

If you don’t want to be attacked by an emu, don’t touch it, provoke it, corner it, or treat its chicks.

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