Never mind masks and curbside pickup—something else is causing a stir in the Australian Outback. One local business there has banned emus. The birds are wreaking havoc with their “bad behavior.”
Emus are one of God’s strangest-looking land animals. The large, flightless birds have shaggy feathers, long almost bare necks, and small wings used for cooling their bodies in the heat Down Under.
Yaraka is a remote Queensland state outpost with a permanent population of fewer than 20 people. Emus there have long been known to steal food from locals and tourists alike.
But things took a rough turn last week when two of the birds, Carol and Kevin, discovered they could climb the front stairs of the Yaraka Hotel, the locale’s only pub.
Owner Chris Gimblett says, “They’ve learnt to walk up the front steps of the hotel, which has been causing just a few issues.” He mentions the large amount of their waste especially. Yuck.
For now, Gimblett has solved the problem by stringing a rope across the top of the stairs. A sign advises customers to replace the rope once they enter because “emus have been banned from this establishment for bad behavior.”
The emus aren’t clever enough to duck under the rope to get inside the pub . . . yet.
Emus are not indoor birds. “When emus get a fright, they head in a forward direction but are normally looking behind so they can’t see where they’re going, and this is where chaos can happen,” Gimblett says. “They bump into everything.”
Visitors staying at the Yaraka trailer park have been surprised by the lengths emus will go to steal food, including pecking a fried egg right off a plate.
“They will lean through the (trailer) door with their long necks and pluck toast out of the toaster,” Gimblett says.
“If you’ve got a mug of coffee on the little table by the door, they will drink all the coffee, without spilling it, I might add. You just discover that your mug’s empty,” he says. “They’re just eating machines.”
“We’re in lockdown mode,” Gimblett says of his barricaded pub. But he’s looking on the bright side: “At least it’s emus and not coronavirus.”
(A three-year-old emu named Carol walks around behind a fence in Yaraka, Queensland, Australia. Leanne Byrne via AP)