Rheas are native to South America. Smaller than an ostrich, rheas stand about 5 feet tall when full grown. The rhea also does not sport the large tail feather plumes of the African ostrich, and has three instead of two toes.
These gangly birds can withstand cold temperatures better than their African cousins. Their diet includes plants, insects, and small vertibrates.
Rheas are raised on farms primarily for their meat, which is low in fat and cholesterol. Black Pine's rheas have long been part of the family and were never in farm production. They were 'back yard' pets.
Males are the ones who build the nests and will sit on up to 50 eggs at a time to incubate, having been laid by a number of different females over several weeks. At about 35 to 40 days, chicks will hatch.
Black Pine collects eggs laid by the female so no babies will hatch. This is to control population. Eggs are then blown out and bleached, and are sometimes available for purchase as a souvenir of visiting, and as a way to help raise funds needed for ongoing care of all the animals.
InfoBox - Rhea
Status: Endangered species, destroyed by humans for damaging crops.
Diet in wild: Wide variety of plants and insects.
Life span in wild: 6 to 10 years.
Weight: 20 to 25 pounds.
Native habitat: South American rainforest.