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>>  Cassowaries have a mean second toe claw that can disembowel with 
>> a kick.
>Oddly (perhaps), the nastiest cassowary is the smallest: the Pygmy (=Bennett's)
>from New Guinea. It has, purportedly, killed people on several occasions,
>whereas I am not aware of deaths resulting from run-ins with Single or Double-
>wattled cassowaries.


Supposedly a Dwarf Cassowary killed a man who was trying to steal its eggs
from the Taronga Zoo in Sydney some years back.  I'd be curious to know the
source for your statement (it might actually, if true, have something to do
with the way new Guinea locals keep cassowaries in their poultry runs at
times - might the Dwarf have been used more in this way?  Anyway, black
rhinos are a lot more aggressive than the much larger white rhinos, and
Napoleon was a little guy...

Anyway, time for my favourite (though possibly apocryphal) cassowary story,
about the Double-wattled.  Supposedly, many years back, a driver in a VW
beetle hit a cassowary while driving through Palmerston National Park in
northern Queensland.  He got out to see if the bird  was okay.  It was only
slightly stunned, but it got up, shook its feathers - and charged.  The
driver's only refuge  was the car roof.  He made it just as the cassowary
reached him.  The bird then expressed its feelings by repeatdly kicking the
car from all sides - puncturing both passenger doors AND the petrol tank!

I had this story in mind when I visited a gentleman in 1973 who fed
cassowaries in his back garden in Innisfail, Qld in 1973.  The birds stalked
up out of the forest to his back porch, chicks in tow, for meals of fruit
collected on the rainforest floor, while I took photos.  Quite the
experience, but I beat a hasty retreat when my attempts to photograph the
chicks wre met with a chest-booming threat display from an adult.  After
all, I can think of no more ignominious end for an ornithologist than to be
kicked to death by a bird.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
Home: 1825 Shady Creek Court                  Messages: (416) 368-4661
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          Internet: ornstn@inforamp.net
Office: 130 Adelaide Street W., Suite 1940    
Toronto, Ontario Canada M5H 3P5