Birds are generally pretty harmless. They’ve been genetically wired to just fly away at the earliest sign of danger, so you can pretty much expect to not get attacked by most birds. Flightless birds are another story altogether though. Since they don’t have the luxury of just flying away and leaving you unable to reach them, they’ve had to swap their “flight” to “fight” – literally.
And among all of the somewhat aggressive flightless birds, the cassowary is deemed the most dangerous of them all. Let’s take a closer look at this cute fellow.
The main reason why cassowary birds are so dangerous start with their size. They can grow to be up to 2 meters tall, weighing 60 kg. That’s a huge bird that you probably won’t be able to get off you so easily once it starts attacking. But that’s not the worst part.
They have ridiculous claws on their legs. Not only will a simple kick from them leave you staggered and gasping for breath, the claws on their feet can be up to 12 cm long. So you can pretty much imagine how unpleasant it would be to get a few slashes from feet like those, which is why you’d be best to just stay away. Thankfully, the cassowary has a very striking face so you should be able to recognize them from a safe distance.
Despite the cassowary being built as a formidable murder machine, they haven’t even caused a handful of human deaths. As mentioned before, birds will naturally avoid conflict and only swap to fight mode if they see no other way out. Sadly, because of deforestation and property development in the forests on the north-eastern coast of Australia will probably lead to more human-cassowary encounters.
Some tips have been issued to avoid people stressing out cassowaries. The biggest one is probably to not leave food for them, as that would only encourage them to seek out populated areas. Also (and this goes for life in general, really) keep your dog on a leash to avoid the dog stressing the bird out. Oh, and back away slowly if it does get aggressive. It can run much faster than you.