Ostrich

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Animal File

Common Name:
Ostrich
Scientific Name:
Struthio camelus
Size: 2 - 2.8m
Weight: Up to 145 kg
Birds
Herbivores
Native to Africa
Desert
Savannah

Conservation Status

Least concern

The world’s largest bird, the ostrich can reach 2.8 metres in height and has a kick so powerful it can kill a human or an adult lion if threatened.   Other predators include leopards, spotted hyena and wild dogs.  These impressive birds are also hunted for their meat, skin and feathers.  Their massive eyes, 5 centimetres across, help the to spot predators in the distance.

An ostrich can live up to 40 years and can produce an average of 60 eggs per year.  All the females in the group lay in the dominant female’s nest and males and females take turns at incubation for 35 – 45 days.  The males sit on the eggs at night as they cannot be seen in the dark, whereas the females’ lighter colouring provides better camouflage during the day.  The eggs are 15 cm in length and weigh the equivalent of 24 normal hens’ eggs.

In the Zoo, the ostriches are fed a diet of special ostrich mix, cabbage and apples.

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