Native to Australia, the Cassowary is one of the oddest birds around.  Flightless, frugivore (feeds primarily on fruit-yeah, I didn’t know that word before, either!), shy, but if provoked, then becomes the world’s most dangerous bird (so says Guinness World Records – take that 411 to your next trivia night!).  The cassowary is capable of running at top speeds of 30 mph, has three dagger-like talons on each foot and is capable of jumping several feet in the air. 

Sounds like a ninja disguised as a bird if you ask me – and I definitely wouldn’t want to get in one’s way. 

When it comes to animals in Australia, the Koala is near the top of the list for sure in terms of popularity anyway.  Though not endangered, the number of programs to protect koalas is very high and brings in millions of dollars.  That being said, the cassowary must be the ugly cousin; not only is this animal actually endangered, but conservation funds are nowhere close. 

What I find most intriguing about the cassowary, however, is the breeding/raising aspect and the roles given to the males and females. 

The female lays the egg(s), then the male builds a nest and incubates the egg(s) for almost two months.  After hatching, the chicks stay close to their dad for the next six to nine months learning to eat and avoid predators.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!