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Do Ostriches really stick their heads in sand?

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The story that ostriches will stick their heads in the sand when they are frightened is a prevalent one. The idea is that the ostrich will feel perfectly safe and believe that they are completely hidden, so much so that a person can walk up to them and pluck a feather or even capture the bird very easily.

However the story is completely unfounded, as no one has ever seen the bird perform this act. When an ostrich is sights possible danger from a distance they have a habit of dropping to the ground, with their necks parallel to it, watching the suspected predator intently. It is thought that this behaviour might have been misconstrued as stick their head in the ground and gave birth to the well know story. However, when the danger gets too close, the ostrich, like most animals, will take flight and beat a hasty retreat.
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