Interspecies Conflict/


What's up with ostriches? Why are they so weird looking? Why do they run away from me when I put my hand in the air? Did they come before the chicken AND the egg? I would really appreciate your immediate response to these mind boggling questions. Thanks!

Hello Eddie.

Ostriches are the largest birds in the world.  They can exceed 9ft in height and weigh well over 300lbs.  They live primarily in eastern and southern Africa.  They can outrun a greyhound, and lay eggs that weigh over 3lbs.  The do have a rather odd appearance due to their great size, long neck, and huge eyes(edging out the horse for the largest eyes of any land animal).  It uses its long neck and large eyes to scan the landscape for predators(primarily cheetahs, lions & hyenas).  If it spots a predator it will attempt to hide, flap its wings in an attempt to imtimidate, or run.  If forced to fight, it will kick with strong legs armed with long claws.  The ostrich is a very unique animal.

I remember seeing a documentary a long time ago about large, flightless birds in which one of the people held his hand high in the air in view of the birds.  As long as the hand was higher than the head of the birds, the birds backed up.  When the hand was lowered, the birds would agressively advance toward the man.  Then he would lift his hand up again, and the birds would again back off.  I don't remember if the birds were ostriches, emus, rheas or cassowaries, and I don't know if this is a technique that would work on each bird species or just certain ones. However, it makes sense that the birds would view a taller animal as a dominant one(I wouldn't advise trying this or approaching any large wild bird).  If an ostrich becomes submissive when you put you hand in the air, it is likely due to it considering you to be the dominant animal at that time.  Just remember that all large flightness birds can be dangerous, so be careful!

Not sure about the chicken & egg question, but ostriches, chickens and eggs have been around for some time.  Not sure what you mean with this one!

Best regards.

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Questions regarding animal conflicts within realistic or unrealistic settings are welcome; my strength lies in medium-to-large species. Small animals (including birds of prey), prehistoric animals, sea creatures, and domestic dog breeds are usually within my scope, but to a lesser degree. I can't confidently answer hypothetical questions about human vs animal, arachnids, insects, or amphibians, but I am willing to field them nonetheless.


From a young age, I have been interested in animals. Starting with the original Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and World Book Encyclopedias, I have seen many animal shows and documentaries and have read multiple books on the subject. I have a solid understanding of the physiology of many animals and interspecies conflict in general.

Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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