One of the most fascinating birds for me is the flightless bird ostrich. It is a bird that brings a sense of wonder and curiosity to me whenever I hear anything about it.
From childhood, I knew about how massive these birds are, the largest egg-bearing bird, the fastest of the land runners, the myth about putting their head in the sand during a fearful situation, and the might of their kick. Everything about ostriches is grand and amazing.
One another thing that I came to know about a few days back fascinated me a lot. This is about the birds eating behavior and the anatomy of its mouth.
Does ostrich have teeth?
No, the ostrich does not have teeth to bite their food. Birds like ostrich generally have some blunt ridges that help them to grab and swallow their food to the secondary stomach known as the gizzard.
What do ostriches eat?
Ostriches are not picky eaters like other birds, they can eat certain specific and ample foods like
- Small plants
- Roots of plants
- Seeds of many fruits and flowers
- Leaves of herbs and green vegetables
- Many other small organisms like reptiles, spiders, ants, and flies.
Another exciting thing about the eating habits of the ostrich is that they can go without drinking water for a week or two. The water requirement is fulfilled from the metabolic water obtained while digesting the food.
What are ostrich’s beaks made of?
Ostrich’s beaks are mainly made up of calcium (the bony part present in the beak is mainly constituted by the presence of calcium) and another hard substance known as keratin.
People often think that birds’ beaks do not feel any pain due to the presence of keratin( same as human fingernails or hairs) but this is not true. Ostrich beaks consist of a large number of blood vessels and other sensitive cells and tissues and can cause a lot of pain to the bird in case of an injury.
Can ostriches bite their food?
No, ostriches can not bite their food as they do not have teeth to bite it. Ostriches on a contrary( not only ostriches, in particular, other birds as well) use other mechanisms to break down and further digest their food.
Ostriches swallow many hard substances like stones, pebbles, rocks and further uses them to break down their food into smaller pieces. These small pieces of food are then easily digested by the birds’ digestive system.
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Can an ostrich bite your finger off? Does ostrich bite hurt?
Yes, it is very likely that an ostrich can bite your finger if you came in close contact with the bird’s beak. This can mostly happen while feeding the bird with our hands.
These bites are not as dreadful as monkey bites or dog bites, apart from an ostrich’s bite, keeping yourself from ostrich’s kick is another wise thing to do.
Interesting things about Ostriches
Ostriches do not have teeth but their beaks are used for amazing things and can be considered a multifunctional evolutionary trait.
Ostriches use their beaks to attack many birds and wild animals with the hard and pointy end in fights and as a defense mechanism.
Ostriches beak also serves many other purposes as it helps in picking up objects for nest building.
The beak of the ostrich also enables them to regulate their body temperature to small degrees.
It not only helps in finding food from underground and deep surfaces but also comes in handy while feeding the young ones.
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Ostriches are big birds and like other birds do not possess teeth to bite and chew their food. These features are a result of a long-drawn evolutionary process.
The absence of teeth and presence of beak is due to the eating habits of these birds, over time these birds have required to dig deep in the soil or in parts of woods to grab and eat small insects and food, as a result of it, evolution paved them with beaks that made them capable of doing this.