How Do Ostriches Defend And Protect Themselves From Predators?

Ostriches protect themselves with their long, strong legs. After being named as the world’s largest bird, it may be surprising to know that Ostriches do have predators. 

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

They are birds, after all, and no matter how fast they run, they always find themselves in situations where they are hunted by dangerous animals who pose a threat to the giant bird.

What Are Ostriches Predators?

The most dangerous among the lots are 

  • Lions, 
  • Cheetahs, 
  • hyenas, 
  • hunting dogs, 
  • leopards, 
  • Nile crocodiles, etc. 

The young ostriches are more vulnerable to these predators and are more likely to get attacked though an adult male lion won’t back down from attacking an adult ostrich. 

They weigh almost 300 to 500 kgs which makes them heavier than ostriches and makes it easy for them to kill an ostrich if they are not killed by the ostrich’s leg first.  

Humans are one of the predators who hunt down ostriches. Ostrich hunting is legal, and you can hunt ostriches in any manner you prefer. They are hunted for their meat and leather. People can hunt ostriches all year round. 

Though it is not affecting their population, many reforms and laws are being made to conserve the largest bird on the planet.

Related Read: Are Ostriches Dangerous To Humans | Can They Kill You?

Do Ostriches Get Eaten By Other Animals?

Yes, ostriches are eaten by other animals. Any carnivore or omnivore animal, if they find a dead ostrich, eats it. 

If they find a lone ostrich, they will try to kill it. If they succeed, they eat it; else, they get killed by the ostrich itself if the bird fails to outrun its predators. 

Ostriches live in a group called a herd. They often roam around with other animals in the Savannas and deserts of Africa. They can be seen with zebras, giraffes, antelopes, and wildebeest, which are more easy prey for cheetahs, lions, etc. Then there are Ostrich eggs.

Related Read: Do Ostriches Live In Zoos?

The female ostrich keeps its eggs in a nest built by the male ostrich. The other female ostriches also keep their eggs in it. 

These eggs take around 6 weeks to hatch, during which they are incubated by both male and female ostrich. Six weeks is a long time, and these eggs lure in many animals like jackals, hyenas, mongoose, warthogs, birds of prey, Egyptian vultures, etc. 

Adult ostriches have to keep an eye on their eggs all the time to protect them.

Do Ostriches Kill Their Predators?

Yes, they can kill their predators. It’s easy. Ostriches are not famous for their big eyes or a brain that is as small as a kid but for their white and black feathers and long, strong legs. 

They cannot fly, but their legs compensate for it by helping them to run at a speed of 70 km per hour. 

They have two-toed claws with a large nail on the outer toe. It helps them to kick their predator. Their kick is dangerous and can take life. This is another thing for which ostriches are famous. 

As mentioned, first, they try to outrun their predators, but if it is not possible, the kick is the ultimate weapon. It can easily kill a human or a lion.

Related Read: Do Ostriches Live In The Desert?

Tactics That Ostriches Use To Protect Themselves From Danger

Ostriches are not violent birds. They are shy. They walk around the deserts among other animals and use their different sounds to warn their herd as well as others. Their long neck helps them to see the predators at a distance as well.

If the predators are close, their first instinct is to run. With strong legs, they can cover five meters in one stride which makes it 70 km per hour. A lion runs at 80 km/hr, while a cheetah can run up to 130km/hr. 

In many cases, ostriches still beat lions and cheetahs due to their bulky figures, as it is not easy for a lion to attack the bird. The lion and cheetah also need to save themselves from the ostrich’s deadly foot.

If they can’t run, they kick. As talked about earlier, the kick is deadly and can kill lions, cheetahs, or humans easily.

If they can hide, they lie their head down on the ground with their neck straight. It makes them look like just a part of the ground, like a rock lying in the middle of the ground. 

They take advantage of the fact that their neck is the same color as sand, and it helps them to hide.

Related Read: How Big Do Ostriches Get? ( Size, Growth Rate And Health Profile )

Do Ostriches Really Bury Their Head In The Sand To Protect Themselves?

No, it is a myth. Ostriches lay their heads down on the ground, which makes them a part of the landscape. 

Ostriches are often considered as “not-so-smart” birds, and it is often said that they bury their heads in the sand and think that they are completely hidden. But it is not true. They are smarter than that.

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