A new chick in town! (well at Cotswold Wildlife Park there is)
Cotswold Wildlife Park is pleased to announce one of its newest residents, an ostrich chick born recently to parents Myrtle and Oli on 14th June 2010.
Ostriches are the world’s largest and heaviest birds found in the savannas and deserts of central and southern Africa. Ostrich eggs (which are the largest of any bird species in the world) weigh an incredible 1.5kg, which is 24 times the weight of a chicken egg!
Nick Moxon, head of bird section, said: “This years’ breeding season has been a great success. Bernie is the first ostrich chick we have bred here for a couple of years. Bernie was hatched in an incubator. Myrtle laid such a big clutch, we were worried she wouldn’t incubate them all. Two domestic chicken chicks are acting as Bernie’s surrogate siblings. They’ll show Bernie the way and they will remain together until he is large enough to join the adult ostriches in their paddock”.
Nick added: “Bernie is a great little character who interacts with both his new family and the Park’s visitors.”
“Burying their heads in the sand”
Although some believe that ostriches hide their heads in the sand to escape danger, this is a myth! When threatened, ostriches will lie motionless on the ground and press their heads and necks into the soil in an attempt to become invisible. When observed, this looks like the ostrich is burying its head in the sand.
- To defend themselves, they have a ten-centimetre claw on each foot and their kick is powerful enough to kill a lion or human being.
- Ostriches can sprint in short bursts up to 43 miles per hour! This makes them the second fastest land animal after the cheetah.
- They don’t need to drink – they can make their own water internally and top up with what they can extract from vegetation.
- During the 18th century, it became fashionable to wear feathers. Ostriches were hunted almost to extinction to satisfy demand for their large plumes.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is open every day from 10am.
Nr. Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4JP
For further information.
6 July 2010
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