Can You Ride An Ostrich

One of the largest birds you can find anywhere in the world is the ostrich, a majestic animal. Ostriches can run faster than nearly any other animal using their powerful legs. You can now find most farm owners raising these flightless birds for multiple reasons.

Although, one question often crops up before you even ask about eating the eggs. Can you ride an ostrich? Even though the ostrich is the largest living bird, it will have weight limits it can carry and the effects of doing so.

In our guide, you can learn more about can you ride ostriches. By the end, you’ll find riding an ostrich has become a huge tourist attraction in many countries. By the end, you’ll find the answer to do people ride ostriches, but also, the flightless bird is used for ostrich races. (Read Is A Ram A Sheep)

ostrich for riding

Where To Ride Ostriches

The ostrich is the largest bird in the world and the only one that has been successfully ridden. Despite their size, an ostrich isn’t built for riding or carry loads, so there is a dispute regarding the ethicality of humans riding them for fun.

Today, most ostrich farms only allow kids to ride the birds to prevent placing too much strain on them. The most weight an ostrich can carry on its back is roughly 198 pounds. South African farms have a weight restriction of 165 pounds for ostrich riding.

Other countries, particularly in Asia, may be less strict about a weight limit; however, this doesn’t mean a larger adult exposes an ostrich to carry weights at the upper extreme, even if it is just for a few seconds. Even with this, it is still a hugely common tourist pastime in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world in South Africa.

Here are many ostrich farms that offer ostrich rides on these large birds. In the US, any ostrich farm that offered rides will have ceased doing so; however, such farms may raise ostriches for other reasons, or Ostrich racing, which is common and has races held every year across the nation.

Can You Ride An Ostrich?

Although it can seem amusing, there are many reasons not to ride an ostrich. Whether you can ride an ostrich is less important than whether you should ride these magnificent, flightless birds. Ostrich riding raises ethical and moral concerns like any tourist activity involving animals. Ostriches are magnificent, regal creatures that don’t just exist for human entertainment.

Ostriches are not designed to support the weight of a human being on their backs because they are birds, not mammals, and they would never have to do so where ostriches live in the wild. There is a weight limit on visitors who want to ride an ostrich at ostrich riding farms, but there is a case to be made against doing so because it can cause premature aging.

Their bone structure will degenerate over time as they repeatedly put up with this weight, and on top of this, the ostriches will likely be in pain even if they have strong legs. You likely don’t want to watch an animal in pain as an animal lover. Pain makes animals cranky, and they can feel this when under physical pain before turning vicious. (Read Are Lamb And Sheep The Same)

Is Ostrich Riding Dangerous?

As briefly said, ostriches can become violent when under stress or experiencing pain. While ostriches kept in captivity are usually not very frightened of people, there is still a chance that you might do anything to startle the ostrich, leading to an assault, as Ostriches get violent when frightened.

Ostriches have a top speed of 45 miles per hour when startled. They can kick extremely hard, and in the past, they have killed lions by just kicking them out of panic. Ostrich riding can be risky because of the high speeds involved, besides the assault risk.

Suppose you are unsure about their level of rage. The American musician Johnny Cash was involved in an intriguing ostrich attack tale. He owned an exotic animal park, and while walking in the woods, Cash encountered an aggressive male ostrich.

The bird once dove and lashed out at Johnny Cash with its foot as Cash wielded a huge stick and swung. The blow struck Cash in the stomach, but fortunately, he was wearing a strong belt buckle, and the ostrich’s toe claw impact almost killed him, Cash noted.

Ostriches only have two toes per foot, while other birds have three or four. While two toes help them run fast, it means if they kick human beings, they will, at the very least, hit you with 50% of their foot.

Do They Still Ostrich Race?

The first recorded ostrich races took place at Jacksonville, Florida, in 1890, when riding ostriches was a well-liked tourist attraction. The origin of ostrich racing is unknown; however, it is supposed to have started in Africa initially before moving to America.

Today, you may observe an organized ostrich race in the US and many other nations worldwide. People ride ostriches directly or with saddles and wagons; the bird’s speed can exceed 43 mph and are fairly tough to control; during a race, it’s not uncommon for the rider to fall and for the ostrich to continue the run by themselves.

Is Ostrich Riding Harmful?

Ostrich riding and ostrich racing for entertainment exist, but either can be dangerous. The activity is not only harmful to the bird, but even the rider can suffer from injuries. (Learn How Long Can A Wasp Live Without Food)

Bird Danger

Ostriches don’t have the proper body structure to carry humans. Carrying heavy loads can harm their legs. Ostriches reared for entertainment often suffer from weak bones, torn ligaments and tendons, muscle strain, and severe joint pains. Ostrich riding is so harmful that it is considered an inappropriate activity by the Association of British Travel Agents.

Rider Danger

Ostriches do not react well to pain or stress, like all other species. When they become aggressive, they can knock you off balance and kick you hard. Abdominal injury can result from an ostrich kick. Therefore, it is best to not try to ride them and instead let them be.

Riding An Ostrich Safely

Even though we discussed the risks, ostrich riding is still practiced today. If you decide to ride an ostrich, you need to know what to do.

To prepare for an ostrich ride, take the following actions:

  1. Let the ostrich get comfortable with you first
  2. Although it may seem strange, you must get to know the bird before you can ride it. Although ostriches are not sociable animals, you can win their slight trust.
  3. Offering them some snacks is the most effective method to accomplish this. If you offer them to ostriches, they will happily accept them because they adore alfalfa pellets and twigs.
  4. The farm workers will put a cloth bag over the ostrich’s head before you can ride on its back. The ostrich may now calm down.
  5. It also makes it simpler for them to guide the ostrich in a specific direction so you can climb its back.
  6. Be careful not to tug or put all your weight on the ostrich’s back when climbing aboard it.
  7. Slowly sit as the farm owners guide you into position.
  8. Lean back, so the ostrich’s neck isn’t compressed by your weight.
  9. Hold on to the wings while (not the neck) letting your legs fall to either side.
  10. Make sure not to tug on any feathers, and under no circumstances should you hold the bird’s neck. This will hurt them, and a violent reaction might result.
  11. The farm owners will raise the bag when you climb onto the ostrich’s back. You can ride an ostrich for about a minute.
  12. Beyond that point, do not hold on and continue pushing the bird. As soon as the ostrich stops, dismount to stop further stressing the bird.

running ostrich

Riding An Ostrich FAQs

How fast can ostriches run?

Ostriches run at a top speed of 43 mph and maintain that same speed over long distances. This ability allows them to make up for their inability to fly and escape from other animals apart from the cheetah, which is faster, making them one of the fastest animals in the world.

Ostriches outrun horses, and a male ostrich can roar like a lion.

How much weight can an ostrich carry?

The weight limit for ostrich riding is set lower by ostrich farms to reduce the risk of injury, even though an adult ostrich can carry up to 198 pounds on its back.

Most farms in Oudtshoorn set a weight restriction of 165 pounds for riders, making the activity especially suitable for kids. If you are heavier than this, kindly refrain from claiming to be this weight or from attempting ostrich riding.

Is ostrich riding cruel?

Riding ostriches has moral repercussions. Reputable ostrich arms only provide riding for youngsters and smaller people because these birds’ anatomy is not designed to transport humans.

Unfortunately, heavier adults still try to ride ostriches, which can harm both the animal and the rider. A stressed ostrich may become violent and attack the rider. Going over the weight restrictions can harm the ostrich’s back and strain it. (Read What Can I Feed Deer)

Is ostrich riding dangerous?

Ostriches are wild animals that cannot be domesticated or trained to carry humans by riding, not even those living on a farm. It can be dangerous for both the bird and the rider.

If you want to ride an ostrich, always abide by the farm’s rules, ride only briefly, and avoid startling the animal. Never try to ride a wild ostrich because they will become violent, and their kick has enough force to kill a human!

Can you ride an ostrich in the USA?

In the US, you cannot ride an ostrich. Ostrich riding was common in Florida throughout the 1800s, but ostrich riding has disappeared.

Ostrich rides are no longer provided by those who are still present. There are still a number of ostrich races.

ostrich as pet

Can you keep an ostrich as a pet?

Although these birds are bred in captivity on ostrich farms, keeping an ostrich as a pet is not recommended.

Ostriches are highly aggressive and short-tempered in the wild and even more so during the breeding season. Also, owning an ostrich is not permitted everywhere.

How much do ostriches cost?

The price of an ostrich varies according to when and where you get it. A breeder’s ostrich chick will set you back about $500.

A breeding pair of ostriches will cost roughly $14,000, and an adult ostrich will cost about $2,500. Even fertilized ostrich eggs are tasty treats at between $100 and $150.

Where can I ride an ostrich?

If you want to go riding the largest bird in the world, try:

  • South Africa
  • Mallorca
  • Curacao
  • Vietnam.

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