African Ostrich

Special skills

Survive

As we have already explained, this bird has not evolved on earth for more than 70 million years. Below are some of its surviving superpowers. It should be noted that in its natural habitat, nothing less than the African savannah, it has no natural predators, reaching an age of  30 to 40 years.

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Extreme temperature

The ostrich can live in extreme temperature conditions. It can tolerate from 55ºC to -20ºC.

That is why there are ostrich farms all around the world. Places as different as Saudi Arabia or Canada. To achieve this, it is equipped with very effective feathers for temperature insulation and a very special thermal oil that it has under the skin. It is called ostrich oil and it only exists in this animal and in the emu. Apart from the thermal function, this oil is a great regenerator of the skin. In other words, if the ostrich hurts its skin, the oil rebuilds it very quickly. The peculiar thing is that it is composed of omega 3, 6, 7, and 9. A wonder of nature.

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Hydration

Despite the large size of this bird, it is able to live without drinking a drop o water for months. This is due to its incredible ability to conserve water in the body and not become dehydrated. In general, the ostrich receives its hydration through food. A clear example of this are ostrich babies, which hatch in the desert and sometimes take two months to find water for the first time in their life. Although if it finds water, the adult ostrich can drink up to 5 liters at once, and is capable of drinking 30 liters in a day.

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Vision

The ostrich has the largest eye of all land animals. Only whales and giant squids exceed these huge 5.5cm eyes! (comparable to a billiard ball).

Ostriches see as far as 3.5 km in detail and with a vision field of 270º. They also see more colors than humans and also ultraviolet light. This is because unlike us, who only have three photoreceptor cells in the retina to capture light waves that turn into the colors blue, red and green, birds have four of these neurons.

As if that were not enough, they live in herds of up to 20 ostriches and each individual watches 7 km around. So it is impossible for African predators to surprise the ostrich while hunting.

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Speed ​​and stamina

This animal is capable of reaching a top speed of more than 80 km/h. Their strides are about 5 meters and there is only one African predator faster than that: the cheetah. The others have no chance. As for the cheetah, with its incredible 120 km/h, it has 3 problems to hunt the largest bird on the planet.

1.- Surprise factor: mission impossible.

2.- Resistance factor: the cheetah is capable of running for only about 30 seconds. The ostrich 30 minutes!

3.- Fear factor: the male ostrich can be very aggressive and easily scare off a cheetah or even kill it.

Defense

The best defense is attack, the responsibility of which lies with the males of the pack. Sometimes it is enough to intimidate predators. Stretching up to 3 meters in height and 2 meters in width, the ostrich is very scary. However, its weapons are on the tip of the feet: a 10-15cm claw. His kicks are frontal and aim for the head. The pressure exerted by a male ostrich reaches 150 KG/cm², and with a single kick it can kill a lion. There is a hierarchy among males. At the top is the alpha male. This is the one in charge of directing the herd and taking care of all the young. To keep predators away, males sing to mark their territory. The sound they produce is called booming, it is very low-pitched and can be heard by a human at more than 1 km of distance. From time to time the males fight to train and climb the ranks of the hierarchy.

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Sleep

This is the bird that sleeps the least in the world. It usually sleeps standing up, closing both or just one eye. The case of the ostrich differs from all other birds. They can only sleep in REM phase (rapid eye movements) and for very short periods of time. Adding up all the naps it takes, the ostrich sleeps about 20 minutes a day!

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Immune system

Guess which bird has the strongest immune system ... No wonder right? To such extent that the ostrich does not need vaccination on farms, it is not administered antibiotics or medicine generally in its entire life. Their immune system is extraordinarily resistant against most of the diseases that affect birds. At the University of Kyoto, Japan, they paradoxically used ostrich antibodies to combat bird flu. Since then, they have been developed for swine flu and today ostrich antibodies kill even the new Corona virus Sars-Cov2. In Japan, some masks are sold with ostrich antibodies, they in the market already since 2004. The antibodies are obtained from ostrich eggs, surrounding the virus that comes into contact with the mask, thus inactivating the germs and their carrier is not infected. “We have produced ostrich antibodies against many viruses, bacteria and allergens, but we were pleased to see how quickly ostriches developed immunity and placed anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their eggs. We were even more pleased to see how capable the antibodies were in blocking the virus that causes COVID-19, "Dr. Tsukamoto.

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