The Cassowarry isn’t really a ‘bad guy’ but you should be quite cautious around them. They mainly eat fruit, so they’re not interested in you for a meal but if they have young especially and if they’re female generally, they can be quite aggressive, especially if they’re used to being fed by other humans.
Size and appearance
The Cassowary is a very large bird.
If you’re thinking chickens, well, the largest females weigh almost 15 times more than a big chicken! They also stand up to 2m tall and are an extremely imposing bird. Not only are they large (the third largest bird in the world, after the ostrich and emu) but they are very colourful. With a bright blue coloured neck, free of feathers, a black covering of feathers on the body, long drooping red wattles (those things you can see under Henrietta’s neck in the picture), amber eyes and a large horned casque (or crest) on top of their head they strike an imposing and, frankly weird figure.
How do they live?
Cassowarys live in the rain forest. If they’re not disturbed, they simply wander around the forest, eating the local rain forest fruit and pooping the seeds all over the forest floor.
As a consequence. they do great things for the ecology of these tropical rainforests. They eat forest fruit (seeds) and head off somewhere, depositing them some distance from the original tree.
Don’t let the trees fool you. They’re not passive and stupid. . They’ve come up with maybe the most certain way of distributing themselves they could…. make an irresistible taste around your seed, something will eat it then transport it a long distance away and deposit it somewhere else for you .
Are they just ornaments?
As a consequence of their usefulness to the ecology, they are what is known as a ‘keystone’ species. This is because of the role in spreading tropical plant life through the district.
As we pointed out before they’re big though and need to be protected from dogs, pigs and you and me in the form of our vehicles.
For your own protection and safety and the safety of the cassowary, stay away from them.
Usually they avoid humans but can attack, especially if they have young or if they have been used to humans by being feed in the past. If you see one, back away slowly and give them plenty of room.
We won’t go into the details about what a Cassowary can do to an adult human but a glimpse of the long, razor sharp claw on each foot should pique your imagination. They have been known to kick through a car door. Stay away and make sure all your companions do the same. This is for your sake and for the Cassowary’s sake to avoid the possibility of them becoming too familiar with humans.
Seeing a Cassowary
Eenjoy Cassowarys and be VERY excited it you see one (a definitely endangered species) but don’t do anything stupid and leave them well alone.
Remember they are potentially dangerous. If they are used to being fed and you don’t feed them, they are likely to attack if they are hungry. The safest thing for you to do is to stay well away from them and DO NOT feed them.