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The Scoop

The Biggest and The Fastest

The ostrich is the world’s biggest and fastest bird. It is also a bird that cannot fly, but it can run very fast indeed - as fast as a car. Ostriches are found in the wild in deserts and savannahs. An ostrich’s wings are small, but its legs and neck are very long. Its long, thick, and powerful legs can cover great distances without much effort, and its feet have only two toes for greater speed. Ostriches hold their wings out to help them balance when they run, especially if they suddenly change direction. Ostriches like to live in groups, which helps with defense. In spite of what you might have heard, the ostrich does not hide its head in the sand. To avoid being seen, ostriches lay their heads on the ground.

Ostriches are really big. They can be up to 9 feet tall…which is about the height of two eleven year old kids standing one on top of the other and can weigh as much as 290 lbs - almost the weight of two adults put together. The Ostrich mainly eats grubs and insects often found in the ground. Its diet includes leaves, grass, seeds, roots, flowers and berries along with insects and occasionally small mammals and reptiles. Ostriches eat things that other animals can’t digest. They have tough intestines in order to absorb as many nutrients as possible. These big birds also swallow sand, pebbles and small stones that help grind up food in the gizzard. In the 18th century, ostrich was hunted and captured extensively by humans, so much so that the ostrich disappeared from all of northern Africa.  If not for ostrich farming, which began in 1838, the ostrich would probably be extinct. Today, thanks to the conservation efforts, ostriches are no longer a threatened species. 

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