Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Cassowary - Another Animal That Will Most Likely Rip You Apart

According to this title, this animal must be some type of fearless, muscular, super-dexterous animal capable of ripping you apart with his/her bear hands. What if I told you that the Cassowary was a shy, two limb bird that resembles a turkey to the untrained eye? Before you close this page in betrayed disgust, I assure you that this bird is fully capable of destroying you on the multiple levels.

I mean look at him, he looks like a little Bruce Lee incarnate.

The Casssowary is one of the heaviest known flightless birds in the world. They generally eat fruits, plants, grass, seeds, fungi, and the occasional small animal. Thanks to their diet, Cassowarys are known to be a keystone species in the rain forests because they help re-distribute seeds from fallen fruit after they eat them; they're known to eat fruit whole from apples to bananas. When eating however, they are territorial about their their land (up to 1,700 acres) and defend it for themselves and their mate.

So... What's the big deal? Why are these animals "likely to rip me apart?" Other than a few birds or rats every year, how do they pose a threat to me at all? Are they going to run after me and peck my eyes out in a stereotypical bird manner as depicted in cartoons, animes and humorous movie/TV scenes? Looks unlikely since I'm a highly sophisticated human that's capable of a few punches or two. The thing about Cassowaries is that they're known to be extremely shy animals towards humans unless they are disturbed. When the are "disturbed", they're fully capable of completely dominating you in footsies. (The bad kind.)

As shown in the picture above, they have dagger-shaped claws that reach up to 5 inches long, perfectly shaped for stabbing you violently. When threaten, these birds will generally jump up and deliver a martial arts-styled kick with clawed toes outstretched. With enough strikes, these kicks are capable of ripping your guts out at worst, and rupture internal organs and/or cause internal bleeding at least. They're nature's ace kick-boxers.

"Posers." - The Cassowary

On one document case in 1926, a 16-year-old boy named Phillip McClean and his younger brother discovered a cassowary on their property, and decided to kill it with blunt clubs. As they confidently beat their clubs onto their palms in threatening motions and approached the bird, the cassowary continued to do a flying kick towards the younger boy, which ran away at moments notice as his older brother Phillip, kept throwing useless blows at the bird. The Cassowary turned and charged at Phillip, effectively knocking him onto the ground and kicked him with strong blows to the neck. The boy escaped with a half a inch wound in his neck, he died shortly after.

This picture depicts a helpful floating Cassowary moving a desk with a human. (No it doesn't.)

As you can tell, these birds can easily outmatch two mid-adolescent boys with weapons and can probably outmatch you. Don't believe me? Did I mention that these birds are known to run up to 30 miles per hour and jump over 5 feet? Bet you can't do half of both! Hold on, you're a swimmer? Darn it. You got me; these wingless birds are practically floating meatbags in water. Floating meatbags that'll swim towards you to deliver a smack-down!


Thankfully, as said before, these birds are extremely shy. Thanks to their keen sight and hearing, they'll try to avoid you before you even enter the forest. The truth is, they want nothing to do with you. All they ever wanted from life is a good faithful mate, a nice plot of land, and to not be run over by cars. Sadly enough, these animals are actually endangered species in Australia. Due to urban expansion and human interaction, these animals have slowly been wiped off the earth, leaving them to the isolated islands that are untouched to humanity. Only about 23% of the original habitat in Australia, still remains today.

But why should you care? What do they contribute to society?! As stated before, these animals serve as a "keystone" species in the forests that they inhabit. What does that mean? It means that they play a large role in maintaining the continuance of hundred of plant species in the ecosystem of that region thus providing food for the larger animals thus playing a major role in the region. If these animals were removed from their native land, the ecosystem around it could collapse or experience a dramatic shift if they were removed. I mean, without them, who would disperse the seeds of important fruits in the region over a kilometer of space via. feces to preserve the current system's animals and biodiversity?  

"Somebody's gotta do it."