Ten facts about Australia's amazing emu
On the day our Australian Map Shaped Coin Series – Emu 2012 1oz Silver Coin is launched, here are ten emu facts we hope you find fascinating.
- The emu is the largest bird inhabiting the Australian continent.
- One species exists today, although prior to European colonisation three other species occurred: the Tasmanian emu, the King Island emu and the Kangaroo Island emu.
- The name emu is thought to be derived from an Arabic word for ‘large bird’ and later adopted by early Portuguese explorers.
- The emu is part of a group known as ratites, which includes the Australian cassowary, from which it may have evolved.
- Like other ratites, the emu has a ‘keelless’ breastbone and is therefore missing the part needed to anchor powerful flight muscles.
- The flightless bird’s long legs are extremely strong and fast, allowing it to sprint at over 30 miles per hour.
- With no teeth emus swallow large pebbles to help their stomach grind up food.
- The emu and the kangaroo were chosen for our Coat of Arms as they are the only two Australian animals that can’t move backwards.
- An emu egg can weigh about the same as 12 chicken eggs.
- Emu egg shells have multiple layers ranging from an inner white layer through to a green outer layer, which led to Kalti Paarti – the art of carving emu eggs (see astonishing examples here).
Perth Mint strikes first coin with King Charles III effigy
The Perth Mint will be issuing extremely low certificate numbers for the first coin with King Charles III effigy on 15 January 2024.