Probably the only story you’ll read about cassowaries today.
We’ve got some absurd looking animals in this country.
For too long, the bilby, the playtpus, the quokka, the dugong, the stonefish, have carried the flag for our outback biological freakshow, but there’s animal that is criminally overlooked in every such discussion.
All those hasbeens pale in comparison to a bird that looks like a bad special effect from a Claymation Godzilla film. Even the way it walks looks staggered and fake. It looks like a drunk accountant dressed as a bird, making his way to the dance floor at the work Christmas party.
Just look at that head, it’s got a horn, but it’s more of a battering ram than a skewer. That’s because its feet are its horns, these vaguely-bird-looking animals can grow to man-size and run 50km/h at their foes and sink sharp elbow-length claws straight into their guts.
They can’t fly, but they can swim. Long distances too. Up in the Cape, that involves crossing rivers, and even beach swimming. They even have the ability to return to shore and, like a dog, dry themselves with a single shake.
You’re pretty lucky to see one up north, as they’re usually deep in the rainforest foliage, which is probably for the best, as birds from either sex appear to have both penises and vaginas which makes for a real ‘anything goes’ approach to their regular randy get togethers.
And, like all things good and interesting, the idiots in our society are slowly making sure they disappear forever. The endangered birds that aren’t killed by dogs are collected by cars as they come closer to towns searching for food.
It’s little wonder that these blue-headed freaks have been known to have a go at humans whenever the opportunity arises.
Twenty years back, Chris Kofron, a North Queensland park ranger, studied the 150 documented attacks on humans and found that only a quarter of the attacks were due to the animal defending itself.
The Queensland National Parks’ study revealed: “The remaining 73 percent of the incidents involved a cassowary that associated people with free meals. For decades, well-meaning Queenslanders have been handing out bananas, watermelons, and other treats to these dangerous animals.
“This has led many cassowaries to lose their natural shyness around humans in populated areas. Today, feeding a wild one is against the law, but the practice still continues—so if you live in cassowary country, make like you’re at the zoo and don’t feed the birds.”
You’ve got to be lucky to see one of these awkward-looking creatures when you’re making your way to the tip, they’re as unpredictable as the very trip you’re making to the Cape.
The only predictable thing about these offroad monstrosities? A fed cassowary is a dead cassowary.