Emus bathing on a hot day

To: <>
Subject: Emus bathing on a hot day
From: "Euan Moore" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 15:52:00 +1100
I have been going through a series of movie clips from our wildlife
monitoring camera.  It was set up at the edge of a small dam on our property
in western Victoria.

Emus were making daily visits  to the dam, mainly to drink but on some
visits they got right into the water.  This involved flopping down so that
their bodies were almost completely submerged.  At times they would roll
over with legs going in all directions.  There would occasionally be some
preening while in the water.  After some time in the water they would stand
up, sometimes shake like a shaggy dog and leave the water.  For the next few
seconds there would be a cascade of water dropping from their very
non-waterproof feathers.

It could be a way of getting rid of vermin.  The other possibility is that
they were cooling down as the incidents happened around the middle of the
day when temperatures would have been in the high 30s.  I've heard of emus
swimming to cross rivers but this was deliberate bathing.  

The nearest alternative water supply was another farm dam about 1.5km away
on a neighbouring property.

I have never seen this sort of behaviour before and wonder how common it is.
One of the advantages of the camera is that we get to see things that we
would not see if we were physically present.



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