Emu on the Loose Reunited With Owner After Taking Nature Stroll

An emu out for a saunter on a nature trail in Fort Collins, Colorado, was spotted by a woman on a walk with her grandparents and her dog on Saturday.

"He just casually kept strolling right on up to us," Lydia McCracken told Fox31. "He seemed very social. My dog was not about it, he started kind of barking."

McCracken also told Newsweek she was "too shocked" about seeing the emu and felt "weirdly calm." She said the emu followed her dog for a few minutes before leaving.

The large bird moved on after a few minutes and McCracken said she called animal control at the humane society shortly after it left.

"They said they had a team coming up here and a little while later we saw some animal control people and a couple police officers driving around trying to find the thing," she said.

According to the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, emus are the second-largest living bird as well as the largest bird in Australia. They can grow up to 5.7 feet and can weigh between 50 and 66 pounds, depending on whether it is a male or a female.

Officials responded to a call about an emu on a nature trail in Colorado. Emus pictured in Saudi Arabia. Bernard Annebicque/Getty Images

"Emus are large, flightless birds," read the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute page about the large bird. "Their necks and legs are long, but their wings are tiny, reduced to less than eight inches."

Though they can't fly, emus are fast runners and can run as fast as 31 mph. And because of their long legs, they're able to walk long distances or outrun a potential predator. They are also strong swimmers.

Fox31 reported that emus are allowed as pets in Colorado, but police were unable to confirm whether the emu was a pet or if it came from a nearby farm. The Fort Collins Police Department told the news outlet that the emu was reunited with its owner but there were no details about where the emu came from and how it got out.

Emu on Trail
A photo of the emu that was spotted on the nature trail. The emu was later found to have been hit by a truck and was transported to a nearby veterinarian hospital where it was treated and released to its owners. Photo Courtesy of Lydia McCracken

Kate Kimble, the police department's public relations manager, told Newsweek that officers looked for the emu on the nature trail but was unable to track it down.

Later that evening, dispatch received a call about a truck that hit an emu. A passerby stopped to help and found that the emu was stunned. They drove the emu to a nearby veterinarian hospital where it was treated and released to its owners.

Kimble told Newsweek that the police department did not receive any calls or reports regarding a missing emu.

This is not the first time an emu escaped from its home and found where it did not belong. Last year, police in Pleasanton, California, a city 25 miles east of Oakland, received a call about an emu wandering around a homeowner's front yard.

After it was captured by using a lasso, the emu was brought to Alameda County Animal Shelter where it waited to be picked up by its owner.

Updated 10/01/2021, 3:46 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a photo of the emu.

Updated 09/29/2021, 9:20 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with statements from Lydia McCracken and the Fort Collins Police Department.