Emus are a large flightless bird with a somewhat similar appearance to the ostrich. They grow to 2 m (6.6 ft) in height, which makes them the 2nd largest bird by height after the ostrich. Emus are known for travelling long distances on their strong legs, which are reported to be stronger than most other animals. Like ostriches, they are also able to travel very fast when required. As you may have guessed the emu and ostrich are related, but they are found in very different locations. Let’s find out where the emu comes from and where it is found today.
Where do emus come from?
Emus are native to Australia and they can be found throughout much of the country. There are three existing subspecies of emus that inhabit Australia, and these are found in different areas of the country. A subspecies was once found in Tasmania and another was found on King Island (both of these are Australian islands), but both of these have since become extinct. The following is a map of Australia showing the current range and distribution of the emu (marked in pink).
Emus are able to inhabit a wide range of habitats, but they are most common in forest and woodland areas. They are rarely found in very arid areas, such as deserts, and in areas of large human populations. Emus are active during the day and sleep at night.
Emus have also been introduced into other countries where they are raised for commercial purposes. There are approximately 1 million emus in the United States and relatively large populations in Peru and China!
Did you know?
Emus have adapted to the sometimes harsh Australian conditions. They are able to go for weeks without food and water. In fact, emus only drink rarely but when they do have a drink they ingest a a large amount of water all at once.