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Can You Ride an Emu?

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Before automobiles were invented, animals like horses and donkeys were the main mode of transportation. People used to ride them or use them for pulling their carriages. Nowadays, however, riding animals is known to be a recreational activity, though some people still use animals to help them out in their daily farm activities. 

Depending on their abilities, some animals are better fit for some tasks than others. Horses, for example, are stronger and faster compared to donkeys.

How about emus? Can you ride an emu?

How fast can it run? Is it legal to ride one?

This article will help you answer these questions and more concerning emus and all you need to know before you get excited and jump on one for a run.

An Australian Emu running fast in the wild

Can You Ride an Emu?

No, you should not ride an emu.

Although they are large birds, emus are not big enough nor strong enough to support a fully grown human’s weight.

Besides this, mounting an emu won’t be any fun because they are known to be restless when any weight is put on them, so they will naturally struggle to shake off any luggage on their backs.

However, this doesn’t rule out the fact that you can jump on its back and steal a few strides as the bird tries to shake you off or before it gets overwhelmed.

Before you try riding an emu, you should know that the act is prohibited by law. You might have seen viral videos online of people riding emus, but this is legally considered an act of cruelty against the bird, and there are legal repercussions for engaging in the act.

At maximum growth, emus can grow 6 to 7 feet tall, with powerful calf muscles that enable them to run fast, jump high, and swim fast. With all these qualities, however, emus are lightweight birds that will not support any heavy loads such as that of an adult human.

How Fast are Emus?

With their exceptionally strong calf muscles, emus are endowed with one of the most unique leg muscle structures for any animal, enabling them to run up to 31mph.

Emus also have a long stride of about 3.3 feet while walking, and this triples while at maximum speed, going up to almost about 9 feet while running. 

Thanks to their strong muscles, emus can manage a pretty good jump, often achieving up to 7 feet high when jumping vertically. 

Emus are hardy animals with tough endurance and can maintain their speed over long distances. 

Is It Cruel to Ride an Emu?

The world over, riding an emu is considered an act of animal cruelty.

There are laws that govern and dictate ownership of these exotic birds, so their treatment is closely monitored. Riding an emu is punishable by law, either with heavy fines or even by serving a jail sentence.

These exotic birds are protected by various acts in different countries, like the Biodiversity Conservation Act of 2016 in Australia, where the birds are native. 

Riding an emu is considered cruelty because first, the bird is not strong enough to support the weight of a fully grown adult, so even if you are successful jumping and holding on to its back, the bird will get overwhelmed with weight.

An emu is also never comfortable with any load on its back, so having a human on its back is nothing but pure irritation and a source of anxiety to the bird.

Ever had a friend lie to you that there is a very big and hairy caterpillar somewhere on your back just beneath your neck but atop the shoulder-line? That’s probably about how the emus feel whenever a person hops on hoping to get a ride.

Can a Kid Ride an Emu?

No, a child should not ride an emu.

No responsible parent or guardian should let their child ride an emu either. Emus are very unpredictable, and since they have sharp claws and beaks that are very strong for their size, letting a child ride an emu is utterly dangerous and reckless. 

Theoretically speaking, however, a fully grown emu can support the weight of a child, although the emu will always try and get rid of the weight on its back.

Emus can be a bit protective and defensive, which is the reason why there have been a few recorded cases of emu attacks on humans. That’s all the more reason you should never let a child get anywhere close to riding an emu.

Other Birds You Can Ride


A beautiful ostrich wandering in a grassy field

Ostrich rides are popular in most South African parks. These birds will give you an epic run, often filled with an intense adrenaline rush.

Before hoping on, however, make sure to get proper tips on how to maintain the ride before pulling off the blindfold since once they are free, your only concern will be holding on for dear life. 

Other Farm Animals to Ride


Horses were a significant form of transport in the past, and are equally relevant today, only for the novelty and exotic activities like sporting though. Horseback riding is exciting and fun.

But before riding, the real work lies in learning how to manipulate the reins and control the horse.


There are never any rodeo events in Texas without bulls. People ride bulls to show off their stunts or simply for amusement.

However, it takes a great deal of training and experience to take part in bull riding. Many people end up with bruises and injuries that can even be fatal.


You can ride a donkey, but the only shortcoming with them is that they are often too short to ride on. Before hopping on, therefore, consider the donkey’s size and weight.

Donkeys can carry loads of up to 30% of their body weight but can carry more than that depending on their condition. Well-trained and healthy donkeys are always stronger and can carry more weight compared to those that constantly graze without any work to do.


A camel standing in the middle of the desert

Known for exotic rides, camels are hardy animals that are well-adapted to the arid and semi-arid regions, including the Sahara, Middle East, and parts of Mexico and Europe. Despite their fame, however, camels are known to be relatively slow, often suitable for longer journeys.

Whether they are farm animals or other domesticated species, there are many animals you can ride including mules, llamas, water buffaloes, yaks, reindeers, zebras, and elephants.


Despite their size and muscle weight, emus are not strong enough to support the weight of an adult human. Yes, they have strong muscles that enable them to run, jump or swim efficiently, but maintaining a load is not in their wheelhouse.

Besides, what are you doing anyway trying to ride an emu? They are unpredictable, and if irritated, they can easily use their beaks as a weapon to get you off their back, and it will get bloody. Better to keep off.


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