How much does a cassowary cost

Cassowary: interesting facts about the striking ratite

The cassowary is assigned to ratites. Like its closest relative, the emu, it is incapable of flight. The rare animals are divided into three types, the Bennet, the helmet and the single-lobed cassowary. They are mainly found in New Guinea. In Australia they are found exclusively in northern Queensland and are an endangered species with a population of less than 1000 specimens. Due to the fact that the ratites, which live deep in the forest, do not have enough habitat available and that introduced animals such as wild boars and dogs also eat their eggs, the population of cassowaries is decreasing.


Anatomy & reproduction

Cassowaries can weigh over 60 kg and reach a height of up to 1.70 m. They have very strong, muscular legs with which speeds of up to 50 km / h can be achieved while running. Your feet have three toes. On the inner toe there is a claw up to 10 cm long that the animals can use as a weapon. Its wings are stunted and only rudimentary. The plumage of adult animals is solid black. On the featherless head they have a helmet-like outgrowth covered with horn tissue. The size of the helmet is important to the bird's social status in the group. They also use it to clear leaves and soil aside when searching for food. In addition, it offers a certain amount of head protection. Two species have a featherless neck. The blue-red colored skin and drooping skin flaps can be seen on them.

The Bennet cassowary has none, the single-lobed cassowary one and the helmet cassowary two skin flaps. The distinctive ratite bird can adapt the color of the skin areas to its mood. The females are usually slightly larger than the males. Otherwise, however, the sexes are difficult to distinguish. The majority of cassowaries breed between June and October; the exact time of reproduction has not yet been adequately researched. After courtship and copulation, the female lays three to five eggs weighing up to 650 g in a nest pit prepared by the male. Then it leaves the nest and the male takes care of the brood and rearing alone. The young hatch after about 49 to 56 days and can walk after a few hours. They follow the father for about nine months. In the second year the brown-feathered young animals gradually take on the appearance of the adult animals. Cassowaries are sexually mature after three and a half years and are estimated to be between 12 and 19 years old.


Habitat & way of life

In addition to the main distribution area of ​​New Guinea, the rare ratites are found in the tropical rainforest of Queensland. Especially in the mountainous hinterland of Cairns, in the Daintree National Park (Cape Tribulation) and near the adjacent beaches, the ratite can be spotted with a little luck. The Bennet cassowary is native to the mountainous rainforest, the protected cassowary at medium altitudes and the endangered single-lobed cassowary at lower levels. They are crepuscular and nocturnal and spend a large part of their time looking for food. Fruits are their main food. They also eat insects, small animals and mushrooms. To break up food in the stomach, they swallow stones. The shy animals are solitary except in the mating season. With the exception of humans, they have no natural enemies.

Note: Especially with young animals nearby, the distinctive ratites can become very aggressive and do not shy away from attacking people. For this reason, warning signs have been set up in certain regions to indicate this and give tips on the most important rules of conduct. Further interesting information can be found in the article Dangerous Animals Australia.


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