Pet emu rescued from small back garden after being bought online

Elvis was bought on eBay as a fertile egg and hatched by his previous owner Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA is urging people not to buy exotic pets online after rescuing an emu from a small back garden in the New Forest.

Elvis, who was being kept alongside chickens, was originally purchased on eBay as a fertile egg and was hatched by his previous owner.

A member of the public contacted the charity after being concerned for the bird's welfare.

The three year old male emu was rescued by the animal welfare charity last month.

The bird has been strongly imprinted on humans, having never seen another emu.

The owner agreed it would be better for Elvis to be rehomed somewhere with more space and with another emu.

This is the latest in a number of unusual call-outs the charity has received to exotic, wild animals including emus, raccoon dogs, primates and even caiman.

It comes just a year after the charity was contacted with concerns for another emu which had been hatched from an egg bought online.

The charity is urging the public not to be tempted to buy exotic animals online, despite them being readily available.

The giant birds, which are native to Australia, stay with their parent for up to 18 months in the wild but if hand-reared, emu chicks may imprint on their owner, instead of their parent, and become distressed when the owner leaves.

Problems can also occur as they mature, as they may see their owner as their sexual partner and this can lead to aggression.

Elvis was transported to his new home in a specially designed box Credit: RSPCA