The very peculiar character of Emus delights many visitors to Healesville Sanctuary.
Emus are native to Australia and are found across most of the country as they are able to survive in most habitats except for tropical rainforest and very dry desert conditions. Estimates of the numbers of Emus in the wild are as high as 725,000. They are classed as ‘least concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (on the IUCN ‘red list’). There are few threats to this species, although the eggs and young are at risk from predators such as dingoes, foxes, buzzards and other birds of prey.
Meeting the Emus at Healesville Sanctuary is an important way to connect with the animals of Australia, and to learn about the Sanctuary’s conservation programs, especially those aimed at conserving threatened native species. The money you spend helps to support the Sanctuary’s conservation programs and its care of native wildlife, as well as fight species extinction.
Emus cannot fly. However, they can run, and reach speeds as fast as 40-50km per hour. An adult Emu stands up to 2 metres tall and weighs up to 50kg.
Emus have a broad diet and will eat insects and bugs such as caterpillars. Most of their diet is from vegetation such as fruits, shoots, leaves, seeds and native flowers. Our Emu's at Healesville Sanctuary particularly love endive and apple chips.
In an Emu family, the male builds the nest and incubates the eggs while the female lays 5 to 15 eggs but has no further role in her offsprings’ lives! It is the males who protect the eggs and raise the chicks. Chicks gestate for about two months, and the father protects the eggs for most of this time. After hatching, it is their father who cares for the chicks, for up to 18 months, until they can fend for themselves.