Alexandra Park Zoo's resident emu duo, Apple and Jimmy, have been together delighting zoo visitors for over a decade in Bundaberg.
The pair love nothing more than a cold shower under the hose on a hot summer day and foraging for delicious treats in their enclosure.
“Jimmy came to us almost 12 years ago as an unsexed chick, hence why she has a boy’s name,” zoo curator David Flack said.
“She came from an emu farm to replace a previous emu that had passed away, and Apple came from the Flying High Bird Sanctuary at Apple Tree Creek – hence the name Apple.
“Apple’s age is not known, however we estimate her to be at least 10 years old.”
David said while the large birds look very similar, the two couldn't be more different in personality.
“Apple is more wary of people and new unfamiliar things, whereas Jimmy is generally much more confident to approach new things and people,” he said.
“Apple is the dominant one of the two and can often be seen asserting her dominance through beak-clacking and standing over Jimmy.”
When it comes to dinner time, David said the emus diet consisted of nutritional values they would usually find in the wild.
“In the wild, emus will eat a variety of different things such as seeds, grains, foliage, insects and occasionally small animals,” he said.
“We provide a captive diet that aims to address the same nutritional requirements, with pellets, seed, dog biscuits, fruits and vegetables making up the bulk of their diet.
“They will also forage around the enclosure, eating fig leaves from off the ground, or leafy branches from native trees that the keepers supply for the emus and wallabies to browse on.”
Emus a unique animal
David said emus were a very unique animals and were classified as mostly birds but shared some similarities with reptiles and creatures from the prehistoric period.
“Emus, along with other large flightless birds such as ostriches and cassowaries, have many features in common with dromaeosaurid dinosaurs (like velociraptors),” he said.
“These features include three-toed feet (tri-dactyly), scaly legs, bipedal, and a large sharp inner toe claw used for defence.
“Interestingly, emus also have a small claw at the tip of their tiny wings.”
David said another interesting fact about emus was the role both male and females played.
“It is the male emu who will incubate the eggs and raise the chicks,” he said.
“Male emus will sit on their nest for around 56 days without feeding, to incubate and protect the eggs.”
To find out more about Apple and Jimmy simply head along to Alexandra Park Zoo on Quay and Burrum Street, open seven days a week from 8.30am to 4.45pm.
Admission is free. Find out more here.
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