A few years ago I wrote a post about Mad Birds in Australia. I listed 5 birds, all mad in their own different way, and then added a final sixth, arguably the maddest of them all.
I probably didn’t do this huge and sometimes intimidating creature full justice, and I was reminded of that when one of them wandered into somebody’s house for a little look around some time last week.
I am, of course, talking about the cassowary…
The southern cassowary
Make no bones about it, a cassowary can kill you. A cassowary can chase you down, it can head-butt you, it can kick you, it can peck you, it can claw you, it can jump on you and it can charge at you.
Think you can run away? Good luck with that. Usain Bolt is the fastest ever recorded running human and reached speeds of around 27 mph during his world record breaking 100 metre sprint.
A cassowary can run at 31 mph.
The cassowary’s legs are extraordinarily powerful, and their two pairs of three toes have very long claws. As you will see in a video coming up shortly, they are described as the most dangerous bird in the world. They have the ability to ‘unzip a human being when threatened‘.
A cassowary can probably run, jump, kick, claw, peck and head-butt all at the same time. Just look again at the picture of this bird, its head seems to be designed specifically for head-butting.
The good news though is in that previously used word ‘threatened’. Cassowaries usually only attack when they do feel threatened. The last recorded death here in Australia as a result of a cassowary attack was in 1926. A 16-year-old boy was kicked in the neck which probably severed his jugular vein; but he was, apparently, attacking it with a club.
So, if one of these 5 foot tall 80+ kilogram birds strolls into your house for a little look around, it’s probably best to leave him be.
That’s exactly what Sue and Peter Leach did last week when a cassowary wandered into their home at Wongaling Beach, south of Cairns. Well, Peter managed to grab his camera first to take a few pictures which have now been turned into this short YouTube video…
It has happened before, although this cassowary was just a youngster, he was nowhere near as scary…
The cassowary is dangerous and deadly for sure, let’s hear more from the cassowary keeper at Sydney zoo…
Yes, best advice, back away slowly.
Despite all of this, cassowaries are not an Australian Bad Thing. They play a crucial role in the disbursement of seeds for some native rainforest plants in Far North Queensland. As one of the videos above stated, they are an endangered species, so please do drive carefully when you are in cassowary country.
Don’t try and feed them though, apparently 75% of attacks on humans are as a result of people trying to give them food. I told you the bird was mad, didn’t I?
My thanks again to JohnOh for putting me on to this story.
No post on Monday, this blog will be closed for Anzac Day. Back on Wednesday.