Ostriches. I always thought they were the boring birds with their heads in the sand, the feather duster wings, the long legs. Benign, a bit stupid, dull. Not any more.
Last week, an ostrich farmer introduced me to ostriches. Did you know an ostrich can kill a man with one swipe of a claw? That they have two talon-like scimitars at the end of their toes, and that they can disembowel you at one stroke?
He also told me how to protect myself in the event of an ostrich attack. The advice is to lie face down and keep still. He said ‘Oh, he’ll have a little jolly jig on your back for a while, which might rupture a kidney, or if you’re really unlucky, he might break a hip. But if you keep still and muffle your cries with sand’ (see who it is who buries their face in the sand?) ‘you’ll survive. Because the ostrich will get bored and wander off. They have very short memories. He’ll forget all about you.’
I asked how long the victory jig usually lasted.
‘Five minutes, fifteen max.’
I don’t plan to antagonise any ostriches.
The ostrich farmer also told me that ostrich eggs (perhaps that’s when the attack could happen?) taste sweet. Sweeter than goose eggs, which as you know, are sweeter than hens’ eggs.
And the size?
An ostrich egg is about the size of twenty-four hens’ eggs. On average.
He recommended using them in baking a cake. I can’t imagine baking a cake that would require twenty-four eggs. Unless, of course, I was planning to entertain an ostrich.