Can You Ride An Emu? Myth or Reality


Just some days ago, I wrote a guide about kangaroo riding that was necessary to break the myth. I talked to an Australian through a forum about the topic of riding animals. First, he was amused and later said the prices of fuel were high, but this did not push us to ride kangaroos. This was a fantastic and unforgettable experience for me, but today, we have a new topic: riding an emu.

Emu are also native to Australia and are known as exotic animals. Riding an emu is not commonly possible because an emu is not built to lift weight. Even, they can’t lift the weight, which is half of the emu weight. At the start, you can sit on the emu’s back, and it can take some steps, but as they are not built for it, they will try to drop you by shaking themselves.

So, you cannot ride these flightless birds. In fact, making such a try can be dangerous if the emu gets charged and attacks you with their lethal claws and beak.

1.   Hollow Bones

Like other birds, emu also contain hollow bones that do not allow them to lift weight. Hollow bones help birds to fly high but in emu case, these bones with low weight allow emus to run fast.

This skeletal structure contains hollow bones, making them weak as compared to weight-lifting animals like horses and donkeys (which contain dense and strong bones). This is the reason emu struggles to lift you when you try to sit on them. Their legs become unstable, and they can’t walk with steadiness.

2.   Muscular System

Emus’ nomadic lifestyle works on their legs and builds leg muscles while other body muscles remain normal. This makes them agile and able to cover long distances even while running, but having strong leg muscles is not enough to lift weight. Despite them, other animals that lift weights have strong muscles around the body.

3.   Streamline Body And Centre Of Gravity

Emu with lower center of gravity and streamlined body, which helps them to remain stable, but this does not help them to lift weight. Against this, they need a larger body size and upper center of gravity that both help animals to lift weight.

The upper gravity center and larger body size work to provide them more leverage that makes it easy for us to lift the weight. This distributes weight along the body and decreases strain from joints to make it easy for weight lifters.

Note: The center of gravity is a part of the body where all the weight of the body remains balanced. A higher center of gravity works as a lever that decreases the gravitational force. This allows us to remain steady while lifting weights.

With all these adaptations, emu distribute their body weight in all body parts, which makes them agile and fast. So, these adaptations prove that emu is built for speed, not to lift weight.

Is Riding An Emu Possible For A Child?

Asking this question makes sense because children normally weigh 3 times less than adults.

So, an emu can lift a child, but it also cannot walk for long distances due to their hollow bones. This can make emu anxious, and it can throw the child by shaking itself. At this time, emu can use their beak and legs to attack the child.

So, ride of an emu is almost impossible and also dangerous for a child. Emu are taller birds with almost 5 to 6 feet in height and falling from such height can push a child into severe conditions like bone fractures.

Further, emu attacks on humans were also recorded, but they were not lethal. Emu just tries to keep humans away from riding them. 

Is It Legal To Ride An Emu?

No, it is neither legal nor ethical to ride an emu. When you know that a bird is unable to lift your weight, is it ethical to ride it? No, it is not in any way. You must respect all the creations of nature.

Further, they are protected in Australia, which is their native place of residence. You can face legal fines in case of riding or keeping them without permission. Even, you have to take permit to keep emu for business purposes.


Saving animals from barbed wires is common now. This also happened and a boy saved an emu from the same condition. After saving, the boy did an unethical act to ride this poor and tired emu. His video went viral on the internet and urged law institutes to fine him. So, he got fined, which proved that you can urge law agencies against you if you ride, keep as a pet, or hunt any wild emu.

As an Australian native, you must know these flightless birds are protected under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Emus Ride In Australian Culture

Denying the glory of emu presence in Australian culture is undoubtedly not a fair decision, but their riding has not much proof. This assures, emu are fascinating but people in past were also not ridden them commonly as they ride horses or other weight lifting animal.

Has Anyone Ridden An Emu?

Yes, as we talked above about a boy who saved an emu from barbed wire. Despite this, I also know a person named Amtrekker who joined the 49th Annual International Camel Races in Virginia City, NV. Here, he was riding this fascinating bird, but we talked. Emu shook itself and threw it down but, fortunately, did not make an attack. 

This all is captured in my eyes, and I can never forget it till my death. 


The result is that whenever you try to ride an emu, you will be ready to fall down. It is neither safe for you to ride it nor for your child. You must keep yourself away from it because it is an unethical and illegal act. 

You must save yourself from every possible severe condition that can cause due to falling down from emu back. So, keep your curiosity within a limit and enjoy this fascinating creature from an appropriate distance. 


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