Aussies Warned to Flee Killer Birds

Starving 6-foot cassowaries can disembowel a human

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff | Suggested by kokuaguy

Posted Feb 18, 2011 2:23 AM CST | Updated Feb 18, 2011 6:15 AM CST

(Newser) – Australians are being warned to stay out of the way of starving giant birds capable of disembowling human beings. The cassowaries, already struggling to survive in a country where their habitat is being destroyed, are even more desperate for food in the wake of the destructive Cyclone Yasi. They're now more likely to encounter humans as they wander farther afield seeking food. The flightless birds—some 6 feet tall, 150 pounds, and armed with fearsome talons—are considered the most dangerous birds in the world, reports UPI.

They eat fruit, but if they feel threatened they're capable of killing a dog or even a horse with a single powerful kick, notes the Telegraph. A teen was once killed by the slash of a cassowary's claw as the boy and a friend harassed the creature. Queensland authorities are dropping food for the birds at stations. But they warn residents not to feed the animals and to steer clear of them. "Cassowaries that come to expect food from humans can become aggressive and dangerous," warned an official. (And in India, man-eating ... elephants? Click for that story.)

A 35-year old male Australian cassowary gets a cooling shower from a zookeeper.   (Getty Images)
Southern cassowary: If you see this bird, fly away!   (Wikipedia)
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