I was determined not to scream and squeal like a little girl, but I couldn’t help myself. I was on the southern Caribbean island of Curaςao and a full grown ostrich was eating out of my bare hands.
Whodathunkit? A scene straight out of Africa on the Dutch island just 35 miles from Venezuela. But it was one of the most fun things we did, you know, besides just lying in the sun and all of those little umbrella drinks.
The Ostrich Farm is about 20 minutes outside of the capital city of Willemstad and is home to about 200 ostriches, emus and pot-bellied Vietnamese pigs.
We climbed up in the back of a camouflaged farm truck with about a dozen other guests and rode around while our guide, Alexander, told us all about ostriches. He didn’t come out and say they are some of God’s ugliest and stupidest creatures, but seriously, the Good Lord was surely having a good laugh when he thought up the ostrich.
However, here’s something I didn’t know: You know the expression about ostriches sticking their head in the sand to avoid trouble? Well, that’s not at all what they are doing. Ostrich ears are flat and on the sides of their heads, so when it looks like they are sticking their heads in the sand, they are really placing their heads on the ground listening to the vibrations around them to discover where and when trouble is coming.
OK, so they may be a little bit smart.
I also learned that African ostriches can run about 50 mph, weigh about 400 pounds and can live almost 80 years.
Except for these particular ostriches. They’re not gonna live that long. You see, this is an ostrich farm, as in breeding and raising them for human consumption. Ostrich meat tastes like beef, but is actually better for you than beef because it has about 40 percent less fat. It’s high in protein and iron and low in cholesterol.
The Ostrich Farm has been doing its thing on Curaςao since 1996. The farm includes a wonderful gift shop of authentic African art and a very nice restaurant featuring, among other things, ostrich.
We didn’t stay for dinner. I couldn’t bring myself to eat that which I had just petted and fed, no matter how funny looking they are.