(Struthio camelus)

Least Concern

30–40 years

Grasslands and semi-arid areas (desert) in Africa from Egypt down to South Africa.

Ostriches will eat pretty much anything! A large part of their diet consists of plants, especially roots, leaves, and seeds, but they also eat insects and small animals like lizards. Ostriches eat things that other animals cannot digest. They have tough intestines that are up to 14 metres long so that they can absorb as many nutrients from their food as possible. They also swallow sand and small stones to help grind up food in their gizzard.

An average ostrich breeds at 3 to 4 years old and lays eggs weighing 1.5kg (that is 24 times the weight of a chicken egg) and measuring 15cm long. Eggs take between 42 to 46 days to hatch.

Animal Facts

  • Ostriches can sprint in short bursts up to 43 miles per hour, and they can maintain a steady speed of 30 miles per hour (50 kilometres per hour). This makes them the second fastest land animal after the Cheetah.
  • When running, a single ostrich stride can measure up to 5 metres long!
  • To defend themselves, they have a 10-centimeter claw on each foot and their kick is powerful enough to kill a lion or a human being.
  • Ostriches do not need to drink water, since they get what they need from the plants they eat, although they will drink if they come to a water hole.
  • Ostrich skeletons and fossils have been found which date back over 120 million years.
  • Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand! When threatened and there is no chance of escape, they actually lie motionless on the ground. The pale colouration of their head and neck makes it appear as if they have buried their heads.
  • An ostrich egg would take 1 ½ hours to hard boil!

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens