Emu

Malcolm the Emu

(Dromaius novaehollandiae)

Malcolm has been with us for many years! Although Emus can be quite dangerous, he is a gentle giant with his keepers. You will notice he has some feathers missing on his neck - an unfortunate permanent reminder of the past when bees swarmed in his paddock and stung him repeatedly. With lots of care and treatment, he thankfully recovered, but has been left with quite a bit of scar tissue. We still think that he's very handsome though!

Did you know? Standing up to 1.9 metres high and weighing up to 60kg, the Emu is Australia's largest native bird. They have shaggy, drooping, grey-brown feathers, large legs, but tiny wings – they cannot fly.


Emus use their strongly clawed feet as a defense mechanism. Their legs are among the strongest of any animal, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. They are endowed with good eyesight and hearing, which allows them to detect predators in the vicinity. The plumage varies regionally, matching the surrounding environment to improve its camouflage. The feather structure prevents heat from flowing into the skin, allowing them to be active during the midday heat. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and thermoregulate effectively.

Emu