Home Safari – Ostrich – Cincinnati Zoo

Welcome back to the Home Safari. Today you will learn all about the largest bird in the world – the ostrich! After watching the video click here for an activity you can try at home – http://cincinnatizoo.org/home-safari-resources/. We would love to see your finished products so share them with us when you are finished. If you are enjoying our Home Safari series and are able to make a donation we truly appreciate your support during this difficult time that we are closed.

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Hi guys my name is dan i'm one of the african keepers here at the cincinnati zoo welcome back to our home safaris i'm here with rose she's one of our two female ostriches we have at the zoo she's about 12 years old and i have been working with her for about six years we are going to do.

A quick training session with her for you guys to see every year these guys get a vet check from our vets just like you might when you go to the doctor so we trained them for a bunch of different things being touched.

Um we also trained them so they could get shots we need to give them any medicine that way you can also draw blood from them just to make sure they're all there um that they're healthy and everything looks good.

Um that way if they ever do get sick we know what their normal blood work looks like so we can compare it so rose just laid down um i'm going to see if she wants to get back up for us and then amanda's going to help me do a quick training session with her and then we're going to meet our other ostrich pam talk a little bit more about.

Ostriches in general so right now yep so what we're doing if you come down here and look touch there's a vein on the inside of this leg um what the vettex will do is aim for that so when we draw blood we would stick so when we're training her we just tell her what we're doing ahead of time so that she's.

Not frightened by anything that we're doing we hold it there for a few seconds holding off that way i'm communicating with dan what i'm doing ostrich um okay.

So we're gonna give rose some lettuce which is one of her favorite foods um ostriches are really curious so you might see her trying to peck at my fingers or something that's not her being mean that's just her kind of checking out what's going on around her um.

Rose is by far are more friendly ostrich or more personable i should say pam's a lot shyer but hopefully she comes up to say hi um if you're ever at the zoo and you want to be able to tell these guys apart uh the easiest way is their size uh rose is about 60 pounds heavier than pam so rose weighs around 300 um.

Pounds and pam is closer to 240 pounds so these guys are the largest birds in the world um they're really heavy which is really unique for birds normally a bird is a lot lighter than it looks because they have hollow bones to help them fly are you okay there.

But these guys since they don't need to fly um they have solid bones just like we do so some other things that are kind of cool about them they're really fast runners they can run up to about 43 miles an hour if they need to they've got really strong legs.

If you take a look here and throws the sky you can see how muscular and strong those are that helps them run really fast they also if they need to defend themselves have a really powerful kick so they've got really unique toes they've kind of got a long nail on the inner toe there.

That helps them defend themselves but their feet kind of look like dinosaur feet they're pretty unique they're the only birds in the world that have two toes so you can also see their feathers are really loose and really just let air move right through them.

That's another thing that helps them stay cool or warm but it doesn't help them fly normally birds feathers fit together like a zipper and that's what helps them around so these guys do have really really good vision you can see they've got really big eyes.

Um they've got the largest eye of any land animal um you can see they also have a little a small head so there's not a lot of room in there for our brain uh these their brains are about as big as a walnut so these guys aren't the smartest birds in the world but we do like them here and they do a lot.

Of training and they do really good for us especially rose here if you guys have any questions um send them in i'd be happy to answer them yeah you ready for them yeah okay jeremiah asks how fast can they run these guys can run on up to 43 miles an hour that's pretty fast and ruth asked how long do they live.

These guys can live to be about 30 normally some have gotten closer to 40 but i would say late 20s around 30s very good average form so these guys are still pretty young they're only 12. vivian asked if they're endangered um ostriches as a whole are not there's some different subspecies um most of them are doing good there is.

A north african ostrich that lives um in the sahara desert up in northern africa those guys are endangered from hunting and habitat loss um but there is a reintroduction program going on right now where they're um breeding those guys and setting them up to um.

Reintroduce them to the wild once their habitat's a little bit safer for them logan asked why is their neck so long that is a great question their neck is probably so long so they can reach the ground a little bit easier um one thing that you guys may have heard about ostriches that isn't really true is that they hide their heads in the sand.

Um what they do do is um if they see a threat far away like a predator they've got those really big eyes so they can see really well um they'll put their head down and then from a distance they look like a turbine which are all over the place in africa so that helps them blend in and.

Hopefully from a distance not look like a meal for someone else rachel wanted to know if you're able to tell the difference between a male and a female that is a great question and yes we are so if you see both of our ostriches here they're that brownish gray color males are black with white feathers on.

Their tail and at the tips of their wings and the reason for that is actually really cool um it's because ostriches both the male and the female lay on their nests so the females will lay on the nest during the day and they blend in with the sandy.

Grassy areas they live in and then the males land them at night and when it's dark outside so that's why they're black cooper wants to know how much ours weigh um we just weighed them rose was 300 pounds on the dot and pam i believe was 242 pounds emma wants to know are they the only birds that can't fly.

No there's a whole bunch of birds that can't fly um like penguins there's some flightless parrots um there's a good amount of birds on some islands that can't fly ostriches are in a group of birds called rattites and that means that they have a flat chest they don't have a keel which is normally where muscle connects and.

Gives birds the wing power to fly so ostriches emus rheas cassowaries and kiwis are kind of lumped together as those rat tights they aren't closely related but they all share that characteristic but they're normally the bigger taller weightless birds emma wants to know what is their favorite food.

Their favorite food is duck food um it's a pellet that's made for um ducks and we used to have ducks in africa and um we try that out as just the food for them one day and that is pam's by far.

Favorite food that's what we use for all of her training rose really likes it too we were using rattate which is um red tape green which is a grain for ostriches and that's what we use for roses training she's not quite as picky but yeah their grain is their favorite food olivia wanted to know how many babies do.

They have at a time that is a great question um and that can vary it can have around a dozen or so several females will lay eggs in one big communal nest and then the dominant female will kick out a bunch of the eggs and um kind of depends how many she leaves back there but it's normally around.

A dozen ella had a great question she wanted to know can they make any noises or sounds um they can make like a hissing sound and the males can make a booming noise that they use during their courtship display they kind of inflate their neck and kind of leave it back and forth side to side and that's what they.

Um they'll make a booming sound then but our girls mainly just a hissing noise no does that mean they're mad normally it's not a happy noise so it's normally if they're displaying for someone else out in the savannah yard trying to tell them to give them their personal space.

Madison wanted to know do they have any teeth they do not have teeth so if you saw how rose has eaten that lettuce earlier she has to tear off pieces but no teeth for her here comes pam she's eating some of the lies too so you can watch as she swallows that and you can see they.

Swallow it whole so if you watch pam you might be able to see that whole piece of lettuce move down her throat which is kind of a weird thing to see blake has a funny question um can people really ride them like you see in the movies you can it's not unless they're built for it so it's not the best thing for.

Them but it can be done juliette wants to know how long does it take for an ostrich egg to hatch that is a great question and i do not know the answer to that tara wants to know how do they sleep do they lay down do they sleep standing up ours normally lay down to sleep.

Yep emerson wants to know are there different kinds of ostriches just subspecies um i think there's three subspecies throughout africa um but no different species they think there there is a push to make the north african its own species but that's still being.

Debated right now nora wanted to know if their feathers are rough or are they soft their feathers are soft um you might see um some feather dusters like the one in beauty and the beast the cartoon that feather duster's made out of oscar jacks or ostrich feathers sorry haley asked do they have predators.

They do so um things like lions hyenas painted dogs all those guys can go after them um vultures and things and eagles might um go after ostrich chicks when they're smaller um.

But yeah these guys do have riders they can defend themselves they can run really fast um so they're doing pretty good madison was wondering can they swim they can swim there's some pitchers out there where you see us just not too far up out.

In the ocean uh once in a while pam likes to go swimming in the moat that we have out in their yard here so they're shockingly good swimmers and do ours actually lay eggs here they do so just like um the chicken nuggets that you make at the grocery store ours to lay eggs and we have.

Our ostrich egg and a chicken egg to show you rose is going to try and eat it which is what she does but you can see there's a big size difference thank you for your help bros um an ostrich egg is about as big as two dozen chicken eggs.

Um so there thank you pretty cool it's the largest egg of any bird in the world but what's kind of interesting is compared to the size of the bird laying it it's one of the smallest so it's relatively easy for an ostrich to lay this giant egg because they're so big.

Um and today if you guys want you can learn how to make your very own ostrich chick hatching out with nostalgia um if you click the link on this home safari i'll take you and give you some instructions and you can do that all for yourself all right everyone have a great day and.

Tune in tomorrow for the next home safari

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Home Safari - Ostrich - Cincinnati Zoo