Deputies in Jackson County, Ohio were in for a shock on Wednesday, April 12th, when they received a call about an Emu on the loose. The Emu was reported by a local homeowner who spotted the large flightless bird in her yard.
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Emus are large flightless birds belonging to the “ratite” group of flightless birds which also includes Ostriches, Cassowaries, Rheas, and Kiwis. Emus are native to Australia, where they are widespread. Eclipsed only by the enormous Ostrich, Emus are the second largest birds in the world and they are known for their impressive height, running speed, and powerful kicks. Emus can run up to 31 miles per hour, making chasing one down an exceedingly tricky feat.
This makes it especially impressive that, within just thirty minutes of receiving the call from the concerned homeowner mentioned above, Jackson, County deputies managed to track down the Emus owner and set to work returning it to its rightful home.
The Emu was found on Red Brush Road in Jackson, Ohio, after apparently touring some local backyards. It has since been returned to its owner in Hamilton Township.
This is not the first runaway Emu case in the United States this year. Back in February of 2023, an escaped pet Emu named Mallory jumped the fence of her enclosure and briefly ran loose in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Like the Jackson, Ohio escapee, Mallory was captured and returned safely to her owners not long after making her initial escape.
Pet Emus may sound strange, but emus have been kept as livestock in the United States for almost a century. Emu farming is a little-known but potentially lucrative alternative to traditional livestock. Emus produce enormous eggs which can be harvested and sold. They live for a long time in captivity and will produce eggs throughout a large portion of their lifespans. Furthermore, Emu feathers and so-called “Emu oil” can also be harvested and sold. Emu oil is said to have ant-inflammatory properties. Finally, Emu meat is often lauded as a heart healthier alternative to red meat.
With all of this in mind, it is easier to imagine why an Emu might be found wandering around a residential neighborhood. Combine their unique values as a livestock animal with their incredible height and agility, which can make them especially tricky escape artists, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for Emus on the loose!
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