Where Do Ostriches Live?

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Ostriches live in the wild savanna areas of Africa, where there are very few trees and little water. Find out how ostriches are now farmed for meat in the United States with information from a science teacher in this free video on animal habitats.

Part of the Video Series: Animal Habitats
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Video Transcript

Imagine a single egg, almost as big as a basketball, large enough to make an omelette that would feed an entire family. Well they exist, and they come from the ostrich. I'm Janice Creneti. I've been teaching animal and environmental science for about twenty years, and I'm here today to answer the question "Where do ostriches live?" Ostriches are a large flightless bird. In fact, they are the largest bird that's currently alive today. And they're found in Africa. Now they used to also exist in the Middle East, but they were hunted to extinction there. So now Africa is pretty much their only home. They live in a habitat that's called the Savannah. The Savannah is a large open area. Shrubby. Very few trees. It's the kind of environment in which we're used to seeing pictures lions, or hyenas, or giraffes, or wildebeests. Not a lot of water there and it tends to be really dry. Ostriches as I said are a large flightless bird. Their bodies are way too big to be lifted off the ground. So their predominant way of getting around is by their powerful legs. Scientists estimate they can run up to forty-six miles an hour for very short bursts. The really strong legs are also their main source of protection. One kick from an ostrich will definitely keep a lion away, and could also snap the leg bone of a man in half. Best to be careful when you're approaching an ostrich. They're insectivores. They're going to be eating reptiles, sometimes small mammals and lizards off the ground, as well as any insects that they encounter. And that long neck helps them reach all the way to the ground. Ostriches actually live in large communities that can be anywhere from five to fifty individuals. That's actually their primary mode of protection. Ostriches are actually farmed, or ranched commercially. A lot of people in the United States actually raise them and sell them for meat. Their feathers were also very popular to be used in feather dusters, one of the reasons that they were almost hunted to extinction. Ostrich skin is also sometimes used to be turned into leather. They're also related to emus, which are found in Australia and New Zealand. I'm Janice Creneti, and this is "Where do ostriches live?"


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