Thursday, April 16, 2009

cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)


"The native was returning home late in the evening humming to himself, when in front of him he heard a curious howling, grunting noise. An instant later a shape hurled itself upon him. Two slashing claws raked down his body, he fell backwards, and his attacker trampled over him and rushed on. He was very lucky, for he had met a cassowary, a notoriously bad-tempered bird, almost five and a half feet tall, out hunting for food. Although in the dense forests of New Guinea and Australia cassowaries feed mainly on berries and plants, they will sometimes kill small animals for meat. They fight by hurling themselves at an opponent, slashing downwards with their powerful claws, which will kill a man. On its forehead the cassowary has a bony helmet which protects it as it runs through the thick undergrowth at a speed sometimes reaching almost thirty miles an hour."

--Animal World in Color, Volume 8 - Hunters: Birds, Fish, and Amphibians, edited by Maurice Burton, Childrens Press: Chicago, 1969

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