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Re: Subject: Bird hibernation/torpor



John Bois wanted to know:

        The zoo is the Folsom Children's Zoo in Lincoln, Nebraska. The male
Emu sits on the eggs to incubate. (He does all the care, the female just
lays them. :) )   
        Our Emu sits in full torpor for approximately 10 weeks. He does not
eat or drink. He offers no protection since he is so "out of it". The female
has been known to peck at his eyes and he doesn't respond! 
        This torpor begins when the female lays the eggs, usually in late
December, early January. Our male has been very consistent in coming out of
it at almost the exact date every year. He has been up for a little over a
week now. We have not had chicks for 3 years and we pull the eggs, but he
still goes down like clockwork. Since we are in Nebraska and it gets much
colder here than it does in most parts of Australia, we have a barn for them
to go into, with heat lamps for the sub-zero days. 

        We have heard that while all emus do this, the time frame varies.
This could be due to climate... I don't know for sure.

Hope this helps!

ZooLady