A couple of years ago, Artis, the zoo around the corner, offered us the option to adopt an ostrich. An offer we could impossibly resist, as the big bird has been gracing our labels for over thirty years now. We were invited to pick a name and called her Esasa. That’s Zulu for “be happy”, or, as our motto has it, “live with your head up”. We were curious how she is doing at the moment. Artis caretaker Katy Koning filled us in.
It has been a while since we adopted Esasa. How old is she now and how is she doing?
She is two and a half years old. She is cautious by nature and hangs out with the other ostriches a lot. Nice to know: she lays plenty of eggs.
What type of ostrich is she and what is specific for her kind?
Esasa is a South African ostrich. They generally eat plants but occasionally might have a bite of carcasses abandoned by predators too. They are picky and only eat the seeds and parts of specific plants and flowers while sometimes adding small animals to their diet too. If need be, they can go without water for a very long time. South African ostriches live in groups. The females lay their eggs in a communal nest, which consists of a simple pit. All the eggs are exclusively incubated by the alpha female.
Does Esasa live with her head up, or does she stick in the sand sometimes after all?
It is a myth that ostriches stick their head in the ground. A story that probably originates from the fact that they do put their neck flat on the ground in case of danger. They are a little less conspicuous that way.
She lives on your savannah, right? What kind of place is that?
The Savannah in ARTIS is a spacious plane where several different animal species live together. Giraffes, zebras, greater kudus and helmeted guineafowls, amongst others. Plus the ostriches, of course.
For personal reasons, we are obviously very curious about the ostrich eggs. We hear they are pretty close to unbreakable.
Ostrich eggs are the biggest in the world. They are about fifteen centimetres long, thirteen centimetres wide and weigh about 1500 gram. The shell is extremely strong and will hold the weight of a grown man.
Thanks Katy! Take good care of Esasa.
See Esasa yourself? Buy a ticket for the Artis zoo. Want to see ostriches imprinted on beer labels and coaster? It’s a short walk from the zoo to our bar.