Anxious wait at Longleat as emu eggs prepare to hatch

Longleat's emus Biscuit and Bounty are waiting for their eggs to hatch. Credit: Longleat

Staff at Longleat Safari Park face an anxious wait this Easter weekend as a clutch of emu eggs prepare to hatch.

If the eggs hatch successfully, it will be a first for the Wiltshire-based wildlife attraction.

They are currently being cared for by father Biscuit, who is sitting on the nest around-the-clock.

One of the emu eggs compared to a hen's egg. Credit: Longleat

Two additional eggs are being stored in an incubator, and one of them has started to rock - indicating the others might be about to hatch.

“The fact that Biscuit is taking his parental responsibilities so seriously and is refusing to leave the nest is a good sign,” keeper Gemma Short said.

Emus are among the largest birds in the world, growing in excess of two metres tall.

They are primarily found in Australia, but also in New Guinea, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines.

The species is unusual in that it is the father who sits on the nest and looks after the chicks when they hatch.

Biscuit and Bounty. Credit: Longleat

When they are fully grown, the birds can reach speeds of up to 50km/h - making them one of the fastest land birds in the world.

Due to ongoing restrictions regarding avian flu, Longleat’s emus are currently being kept inside.

The attraction is due to reopen to visitors on Monday, 12 April.

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