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Posted at 5:13 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Emu on the loose in Md.

By Maria Glod

The calls started coming in to Calvert County authorities around Thanksgiving. An oversized bird, people said, was on the loose in their Dunkirk neighborhoods.

"A lot of people called in and said they had an ostrich in their backyard," said Calvert County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Officer Craig Dichter.

Animal control officers immediately suspected the mysterious bird was actually an Emu -- they can stand taller than six feet -- and, possibly, an escapee from an area farm.

More sightings have followed. But the bird has managed to elude animal control officers for weeks. (They can run about 30 miles per hour.)

On Wednesday, authorities warned residents not to approach the bird, which has powerful legs and sharp toenails. They said they are in search of the Emu's owner, in hopes that person can help them safely capture the bird.

Dichter said officers hope to contain the Emu in a fenced area. Once the animal is calm, he said, they would try to entice it into a trailer. "They are curious animals," Dichter said, "If you can get some sparkly thing they may come to it."

Authorities ask that anyone who spots the Emu call the Animal Control Unit at 410-535-1600 extension 2526, or call 911 if the bird is in the road or the situation is an emergency.

By Maria Glod  | January 5, 2011; 5:13 PM ET
Categories:  Animal Stories, Calvert, Maria Glod  
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I totally hope this emu comes into DC. My lease says I can have a pet.... I hope I can catch it! How awesome would it be to have a pet emu?!?

Posted by: hill_guy | January 5, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

From the wikipedia article: "Emus have a nail on their toes, akin to a knife, which is used in kicking away predators and opponent Emus. Their legs are among the strongest of any animals, allowing them to rip metal wire fences." And you thought your cat tore up the furniture. Good luck with that pet!

Posted by: mercredi | January 6, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

I like feisty birds. They remind me of various "escorts" I've employed.

Posted by: snalg1 | January 6, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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