These big goofy looking birds can be pretty unpredictable, dangerous, and even vicious. You certainly don’t want to provoke one. Can an ostrich’s kick kill you? How fast can they run?
And, how could you wrestle an ostrich? An ostrich’s powerful, long legs can cover 3-5 m (10-16 ft) in a single stride, and they are powerful enough to kill a lion. So you’re probably thinking, “I have no chance of surviving this attack.” Well, you do if you follow these steps.
Step 1: Get Away
You’re dealing with the world’s largest bird. And these flightless birds are powerful runners, so outrunning them is not an option. They can sprint up to 72 km/h (43 mph).
So if you want to avoid a fatal kick from one of these giants, you’ll need to keep your distance. If you see an ostrich starting to charge, you may still have time to get to a safe place. So try to duck into a car, a building, or up climb a tree. Your goal is to get out of reach so the ostrich can’t touch you.
Step 2: Lie Down
An ostrich can grow to 2.7 m (9 ft) tall and weigh up to 158 kg (350 lb). So if you try to stand up to one, you’re probably not going to intimidate it. Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. But you can, sort of. Lie down, or get low to the ground. Then the ostrich will recognize that you are not a threat. However, it might hang out and watch you for a while, but it won’t hurt you. So lie down flat, and cover your face and head. If you are prepared and remain calm, you might end up with just a good scare and a great story to tell. But you will be alive.
Step 3: Find a Thornbush
Ostriches live in desert areas of the African savannas, and thornbushes are plentiful there. The good news is that ostriches are not fans of thornbushes. And I’m guessing you’re not either, but if you want to get through this, you’ll probably have to suck it up. So if an ostrich charges at you, jump into the nearest thornbush.
Step 4: Go for Its Throat
The neck is the ostrich’s weak point, so face the big bird head-on, grab it, and try to twist it around. But remember, as soon as you let go, you’re going to be dealing with one seriously angry ostrich. Ideally, you could use a sleeper hold and apply pressure until the bird passes out. And as soon as it hits the floor, get out of there. But if this doesn’t work, and you have to go “head to beak” with the angry bird…
Step 5: Fight
Fight with everything you’ve got. But try to keep your distance and use a long object, such as a pole or a stick. Attack its neck, and if you still have no luck, go for its eyes and head. And, if all else fails, attack its legs and try to bring the bird down.
One of the most famous ostrich attacks on record happened to the late Johnny Cash. An ostrich in an exotic farm on Cash’s property didn’t take kindly to Johnny walking the trail that day, so the bird decided to let him know. It attacked the singer, but Cash was carrying a 1.8 m (6 ft) stick in his hand. The fight was quick but brutal for Johnny Cash. He claimed he got off easy with only a couple of broken ribs and a huge gash on his stomach. Johnny credited a good solid belt buckle for saving his life.
- “Ostrich Facts: The World’s Largest Bird”. Alina, Bradford. 2014. livescience.com.
- “Ostrich | National Geographic”. 2021. Animals.
- “Johnny Cash Once Tried To Fight An Ostrich And, Predictably, Suffered A Heavy Defeat”. Whatley, Jack. 2020. Far Out Magazine.
- “How To Survive An Ostrich Attack”. 2021. Howcast.
- “How Do You Survive An Ostrich Attack? Watch This Video.” Steven, Hoffer.2015. Huffpost UK.