A cassowary is a flightless bird and is a bit smaller than an ostrich or an emu. Here in Australia we have the Southern Cassowary which is found in far North Queensland, they live in the rain forests, and have a bit of a reputation for being dangerous to people as well as domestic animals.
The Southern Cassowaries grow to 1.8 metres or 5.9 feet tall, females have been known to be slightly larger. They usually weigh around 58.5 kilograms or 129 pounds. They have very sharp claws, the second toe or the inner one has a dagger-like claw that is 125 cm or 5 inches long.
The Southern cassowary is actually an endangered species in Australia; studies have shown that 55% of the ones that have died were killed by motor vehicles. When
Cyclone Yasi hit in January 2011 it wiped out 10% of the cassowary population.
When they attack the cassowary uses it’s very powerful legs, and jumps and pushes with full force, claws first hitting the intended target, they have been known to jump as high as 1.5 metres or 4.9 feet.
A guy from Western Australia visiting Queensland saw a cassowary and was watching a photographer taking photos of the bird, the next thing he knew he was rolling down the cliff. He has come away from this “adventure” with a torn shirt, and a bruised backside. The tourists doesn’t know why the bird chose him, he was there with his family. After he stopped at the bottom of the hill and landed in water, the cassowary looked over the edge at him, and then ran off into the rainforest.
“Next thing, thump, I copped a boot in the back and I was tumbling down the bank, it was pretty high – about seven foot – I hit this ledge near the bottom and bounced off into the drink.”
Read about the story in The Cairns, there is also a photo of the victim with his torn shirt.