14 Weird Ostrich Facts
1. An ostrich’s brain is smaller than its eye - it would hardly fill a teaspoon.
2. The Roman Emperor Heliogabalus once had the brains of 600 ostriches served up at a feast during his reign 2 000 years ago.
3. Every adult ostrich has around a kilogram or more of stones in its crop. Sometimes these stones have been found to be diamonds.
4. The dark male ostrich usually sits on its eggs at night, and his paler female mate during the day.
5. They don’t put their heads in the sand, but they do rest their necks on the ground while on the nest.
6. Ostriches have the largest eyes of any mammal.
7. Despite this, they have an alarming tendency to run into obstacles.
8. Most ostriches you see in South Africa are crossed with the Barbary ostrich of North Africa - smuggled into the country before World War I for its finer feathers.
9. Don’t go near a male ostrich with red shins. He’s at his most aggressive then.
10. Ostriches can sprint to speeds of 70 km/h, outpacing almost any predator.
11. In the 1700s, ostriches were occasionally harnessed and used to pull light carts in South Africa.
12. Ostriches make good shepherds. These days you’ll often see a flock of Karoo sheep being guarded by a patrolling ostrich.
13. During the mating season, males roar like lions.
14. They also do the crazy fandango as a mating dance in front of females. Once you see it, you’ll know how cabarets were inspired.