An ‘aggressive’ ostrich-like bird that is reported to be running loose on the streets of Worksop has had residents in a bit of a flap.
Police issued a warning after the rhea, a 6ft tall flightless bird native to South America, was reported missing in Carlton-in-Lindrick on Tuesday (23rd June).
But what is the rhea, and is it dangerous? Here are some facts about the flightless bird.
The rhea is the largest of all South American birds and is related to ostriches and emus.
A rhea’s legs can also be formidable weapons. Ostriches and rhea kicks can kill a human or a potential predator like a lion. Each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw.
You can survive an attack by grabbing the bird by the neck or playing dead.
Contrary to popular belief the rhea, like the ostrich, does not bury its head in the sand.
Rheas use their long, powerful legs to outrun trouble. Although their large wings are useless for flight, they are used for balance and for changing direction as the bird runs.
Rheas are polygamous, so males have many different mates.
Unlike other animals, males are fully responsible for building of the nest and care of the eggs and chicks after hatching.
The rhea often congregates with other large animals, such as deer and guanacos, and form mixed herds.
Rheas are opportunistic eaters. They enjoy plants, fruits, and seeds but also eat insects, lizards, birds, and other small game.
Inspector Paul Peatfield, from Notts Police, said: “We are warning local people and particularly those with small children to be on their guard and not to approach the bird, which poses a very real threat to the public due to its size, aggressive nature and the unfamiliar surroundings it could find itself in.”
“Officers are working with the owner to trace the bird as we look to bring his incident to a safe conclusion.”
Worksop folk took to social media to express their concern about running into the 6ft bird.
Mandy Holden posted: “I’m baffled as to how you lose a 6ft flightless bird. I do hope it is returned home safe and well after its adventures, though.”
Julie May added: “I might hibernate until it’s found!”
Posting on the Guardian Facebook page, David Cook warned: “They can kill people, so best to leave it be if you see it!”
Anyone who sees the bird is asked tocall 999 immediately.