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Emus as Pets

Emus as Pets? Words of Caution for Beginners Who Really Want One

Keeping Emus as pets is an unconventional yet increasingly popular trend that is catching up. These are large, exotic birds, and must be taken care of with extreme attention to detail and patience.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Dromaius novaehollandiae, popularly known as Emus, are the second largest birds in the world, coming after the ostrich. Their native land is the continent of Australia, and these are the largest birds found there. These birds are commonly found all over Australia, but have a tendency to avoid areas that are heavily-populated or densely-forested. Their average height is around 2 meters. Like ostriches, these birds too cannot fly (due to their immense body weight), but make up for their flightlessness by running extremely fast. Emus can reach a top speed of 50 km/hour if required, and can maintain this speed for a long period of time. They are highly nomadic by nature, and feed mostly on different varieties of insects and plants.
Popularity As Pets
Since the last 20 years or so, many farmers across the United States have begun breeding Emus in a big way. As a result of this, their popularity as pets has risen. Their exotic appearance and gentle nature makes keeping them as pets a very feasible option. Though keeping pet Emus may have aroused your curiosity and interest, be warned that taking care of them and living with them is not an easy task.
When Emus are small, they may seem very cute and cuddly. However, as they begin to grow, keeping track of their movements and coping with their needs and requirements becomes more and more difficult. Also, they have very sharp claws which can badly injure a human being. They use these claws if they feel threatened. If you approach or try to catch an Emu that is ill or an Emu that is unfriendly, then be wary of its claws.
When you keep Emus as pets, you need to know what to feed them. As is the case with any other pets that you may have seen, Emus require food that they like and food that provides nourishment to their strong bodies. They are extremely curious by nature and will try to eat anything that they can get their long beaks on. The most common foods to feed an Emu can range from small plants to homemade recipes. Here is a list of what you can feed your pet Emus.
  • Insects, caterpillars, and other invertebrates.
  • Seeds and nuts.
  • Flowers, leaves, and other plant parts.
  • Lizards and other small animals.
  • Various salads like potato salad and macaroni salad.
  • Different recipes of eggs.

Ensure that you feed your Emus regularly, because if they find that they are not receiving enough food, then they tend to move on in search of other food sources. This could be harmful and very dangerous for them.
Suitability as Pets
There are many complications involved in keeping Emus as pets, and once you've understood the hassles involved, you must make a call about whether you will be able to deal with a pet Emu or not. If you are searching for an Emu to take home as a pet, then ensure that it is a small chick. To take home a grown up Emu that has never been someone's pet before is not advisable. If the Emu has seen you and your family since its hatchling days, then it will be more comfortable being your pet.
When your Emu is young, touch it and pet it very often in order to get it accustomed to human touch. If it has not gotten used to the touch of a human being, it may react angrily to being touched once it grows up into a full-fledged adult. A huge pen and pet shelter will also be required. It will need some space to loiter around, and you need to provide it with that space. Emus, when kept as pets, may not show any wild tendencies or instincts, but you must be prepared for such tendencies to crop up at any given time.
Tips and Reminders
Remember the following pointers to ensure that you and your pet have a comfortable life together.
  • Emus are attracted to shiny and dangling objects. So remove any jewelry you're wearing before approaching your Emu.
  • The pen or the shelter will stink a lot. So be prepared for that.
  • Buy an Emu from a reliable and reputable farmer, who will ensure that the health and sanitary procedures are carried out perfectly.
  • Emus can kick very hard, and they kick in front. So be wary when you stand in front of them or next to them.
  • Be extremely cautious about the Emus' claws and talons. These are very sharp, and can seriously injure a human being.

Emus can be very affectionate and gentle, but at the same time can be very aggressive and moody. Learn to understand your pet Emu's moods and act accordingly. Do not make it feel threatened or under threat in any way, as this will provoke a violent reaction from it. If you treat it right, it will be a source of great joy in your life.