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The awesome ostrich

Hey there! Hoofstock Keeper Cory checking in here. I wanted to share some cool facts about the largest birds in the world! Yes, you guessed it, ostriches. The Hoofstock Team here at Zoo Atlanta takes care of a female pair of non-hoofed animals, Purple and Orange the ostriches. You can catch a glimpse of them in our African Savanna mixed-species habitat, where they are housed with our giraffes, zebra, and bontebok.

 These girls are a little over 16 years old, and their weights range from 250 to 300 pounds! They are flightless birds found in the savanna and desert lands of Africa and can reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour. These birds have amazing features that make them perfectly adapted to their habitat. They have strong, powerful legs and feet which can cover 10 to 15 feet in a single stride. Each foot has two toes, and one toe possesses a long sharp claw that is used for protection. A kick from one of these massive birds can be fatal to a potential predator. The ostrich also has the largest eyes of any living land animal, measuring two inches in diameter. Their eyes are even larger than their own brains and aid them in spotting potential threats and predators. 

Orange and Purple spend most of their days walking together and observing their surroundings. Sometimes you can catch them chomping on apples and alfalfa or taking a nice relaxing dust bath. You can come and admire these two beauties by visiting the African Savanna, and make sure to keep a look out for their leg bands. Leg bands are used in zoos to identify individuals, with the males usually having them placed on their right leg and females on their left. These girls are pretty easy to tell apart because Purple has a purple leg band and Orange’s leg band is you guessed it, orange. 

 (Photo: Bridget S.)

 Cory R.
Keeper I, Mammals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl