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Giant bird makes dash for freedom; But 5ft rhea decides that home is best.

Byline: BY ALAN WESTON Daily Post Staff

A POTENTIALLY lethal giant bird was recaptured yesterday after escaping from a property in Warrington.

Drivers were warned to look out for the 5ft female adult rhea, which is similar to an ostrich or emu.

The flightless bird is capable of killing a human with one strike of its large claws.

The rhea, which was described by its owner as "non-aggressive," escaped from a property in Holcroft Lane, Culcheth, on Sunday.

It was eventually caught by its owner yesterday afternoon, Cheshire Police said.

"It was found in a field near to where it escaped," the spokeswoman said.

"It has caused no damage."

The spokeswoman said the escaped bird had not caused any problems to motorists on the roads in the area.

Police said the bird would only be a risk to people if it was cornered, adding that male rheas were the more aggressive birds. Rheas are usually kept domestically for their eggs, laying between 200 and 300 each year.

They are a South American cousin of the ostrich, growing to a height of about 6ft and weighing around 150 pounds.

The rhea can kick with a force of 800 pounds per square inch, and can be dangerous if it feels threatened.

Their wings are comparatively large for a flightless bird and are spread while running, to act like sails. Unlike most birds, rheas have only three toes which is probably an adaptation to allow faster running.

alanweston@dailypost.co.uk

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Rheas are usually kept domestically for their eggs, laying between 200 and 300 each year
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 23, 2008
Words:265
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