Hiker in Australia decides to harass emu, with predictable consequences

Three emu, New South Wales, Australia
(Image credit: Getty)

A tourist in Nambung National Park, Australia, has been caught on camera sprinting for his life after harassing an emu.

Nambung, about 200km from Perth, is best known for the striking Pinnacles Desert, which is surrounded by dune systems and low heathland that support a wealth of wildlife including kangaroos, emus, dingoes, black cockatoos, and red foxes to name just a few.

The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service advises visitors to keep their distance from wildlife, and use their camera's zoom to get a better view. Explorers are also reminded to take responsibility for their own safety, and that of others in their care when heading out.

This particular incident (which you can watch below) was captured by artist and author Joanne Colely and shared on Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out examples of bad behavior at sites of natural beauty around the world. 

Tall and agile, emus are generally peaceful and inquisitive birds, but can be unpredictable if they feel threatened. Their strong legs can deliver a powerful kick and, like cassowaries and ostriches, they have sharp toe claws that could inflict a nasty injury.

Last year, several experts warned members of the public against buying emus as pets after watching videos of the birds on social media.

“Most emu don’t want to be touched on the head or cuddled,” said Todd Green, a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the New York Institute of Technology who studies emu. “Some are very docile and friendly, but not all are. They’re very strong animals and if you’re not careful, they can kick and break bones.”

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.