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Ecology and Behaviour Of Emu
Emus live in most habitats across Australia, although they are most common in areas of sclerophyll forest and savanna woodland, and least common in populated and very arid areas, except during wet periods.[2] Emus predominately travel in pairs,[2] and while they can form enormous flocks, this is an atypical social behaviour that arises from the common need to move towards food sources. Emus have been shown to travel long distances to reach abundant feeding areas. In Western Australia, Emu movements follow a distinct seasonal pattern—north in summer and south in winter. On the east coast their wanderings do not appear to follow a pattern.[32] Emus are also able to swim when necessary, although they rarely do so unless the area is flooded or they need to cross a river.[22]
They are also known to be inquisitive animals, and are known to approach humans if they see movement of a limb or a piece of clothing. They may follow and observe humans in the wild. Sometimes they poke other animals and then run away after drawing a reaction, as though they are playing a game.[33] An Emu spends much of its time preening its plumage with its beak.[34]
Emus sleep during the night, and begin to settle down at sunset, although it does not sleep continuously throughout the night. It can awake and arise up to eight times per night in order to feed or defecate. Before going into a deep sleep, the Emu squats on its tarsus and begins to enter a drowsy state. However, it is alert enough to react to visual or aural stimuli and return to an awakened state. During this time, the neck descends closer to the body and the eyelids begin to lower.[35] If there are no aural or visual disturbances, it will go into a deep form of sleep after 20 minutes. During this time the body is lowered until it is touching the ground and its legs are folded. The feathers direct any rain downwards along the mound-like body into the ground, and it has been surmised that the sleeping position is a type of camouflage meant to mimic a small hill.[35] The neck is brought down very low and the beak turned down so that the whole neck becomes S-shaped and folding onto itself.[35] An Emu will typically awake from the deep sleep one every 90–120 minutes and stand in a tarsal position to eat or defecate. This lasts for 10–20 minutes and the cycle is repeated 4–6 times during most nights.[35] Overall, an Emu sleeps for around seven hours every day. Young Emus are known to sleep with their neck flat and stretching forward along the ground surface.[35]

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