Gladys Porter Zoo staff is ecstatic to announce that we once again had three baby cassowaries hatch. It had been 24 years since our last successful cassowary brood hatched an egg, which was in 1997. Since Irwin aka Junior, our 6 year old male cassowary, is a first time dad, we want to wish him a Happy Father’s Day! He truly deserves it.
Clementine, our 36 year old female, laid her first egg on March 23rd and continued laying additional eggs for several weeks. The incubation time for cassowaries is 52-56 days. The three chicks hatched on May 20th, 22nd, and 27th and are currently being reared behind-the-scenes by watchful animal care staff.
Male cassowaries are the primary caregivers to chicks. The male prepares the nest, incubates the eggs, and raises the chicks for up to nine months, whereas the female lays the eggs and moves on to new territory to repeat the process.
Cassowaries are known as the world’s most dangerous bird. They are the 3rd largest bird in the world, growing up to 5.8 feet tall and have a large dagger-like claw on each foot. This claw grows to be almost 5 inches long, which is used to defend itself, and it can be deadly. Southern cassowaries, or double-wattled cassowaries, are native to northeastern Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes updates from our animal care staff.