WTF Fun Fact 13587 – Ostrich Speed

You’ve heard of horsepower, but how about ostrich speed? It turns out ostriches are actually capable of moving faster than horses!

Native to Africa, ostriches might seem like unlikely sprinters due to their large size and seemingly unwieldy, flightless nature. But their unique anatomy and evolutionary adaptions allow them to move FAST.

The Mechanics of Ostrich Speed

The first thing that might strike you about an ostrich is its legs. They’re long and strong. And they account for a substantial portion of the ostrich’s height, which can reach up to 9 feet. Unlike horses, which have multiple toes with hooves, ostriches stand and run on just two toes. This two-toed design provides a more extended surface area, enabling better traction and speed on the African plains.

Muscle distribution plays a significant role in ostrich speed as well. Ostriches have a higher concentration of fast-twitch muscle fibers in their legs compared to horses. These fibers contract very fast, and they provide the power necessary for rapid sprints. The long tendons in and ostrich’s legs also act like springs. They store and release energy efficiently with each stride.

So, as they run, an ostrich’s stride can stretch up to 15 feet!

Comparative Speeds: Ostriches vs. Horses

While a fast horse can reach speeds of up to 55 mph during a short sprint, it typically averages around 30-40 mph during a more extended run. The ostrich can consistently maintain speeds of 45 mph over longer distances. Moreover, it can reach peak velocities of up to 60 mph in shorter bursts.

This consistency and top speed give the ostrich an edge in a hypothetical race against its four-legged counterpart.

But it’s not just about speed. Ostriches also have amazing stamina. They can maintain their swift pace for extended periods, allowing them to traverse the vast African landscapes in search of food and water.

A horse might tire after a long gallop, but the ostrich’s energy-efficient anatomy lets it cover vast distances without wearing out. This endurance is especially crucial in their native habitat since resources can be sparse, and threats from predators are always around.

Another fascinating aspect of the ostrich’s ability to maintain high speeds over time is its temperature regulation mechanism. Ostriches have a unique system of blood vessels in their legs. These help dissipate heat. So, as they run, the large surface area of their legs allows for more efficient cooling and prevents them from overheating.

Evolution’s Role in Ostrich Speed

The ostrich’s need for speed didn’t just arise out of nowhere. Over millions of years, evolution fine-tuned this bird for its specific environment. The plains of Africa, with its predators and the need to roam large areas for food, necessitated both speed and stamina. In response to these pressures, the ostrich developed its remarkable running capabilities.

Similarly, the horse’s evolution was shaped by its environment and survival needs. While they, too, evolved to be fast runners, their evolutionary trajectory emphasized different aspects of speed, maneuverability, and strength suitable for their respective ecosystems.

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Source: “Can Ostriches Run Faster than Horses?” — HorseRidingHQ

WTF Fun Fact 13428 – Montana Principal Horses Around

A Montana principal got an equine surprise thanks to a loophole in the law that some students decided to exploit as a senior prank. It involved a group of horses and a solemn duty to make sure they got fed.

Pranking the Montana principal with horses

What makes this story heartwarming is the unique blend of mischief and reverence for their rural roots. The graduating class of Conrad High School decided to give a nod to their cowboy culture. They swapped out the traditional senior prank with something far more creative – and far less destructive.

This merry band of seniors decided that the best way to celebrate impending graduation was by saddling up their horses. Then they took the 4 mile journey to class.

Twelve seniors at Conrad High School took advantage of what they believe is an old law. It mandates that if kids ride their horses to school, the principal has to care for them. The law remains unconfirmed, but the principal played along anyway.

“Montana has an old law saying if a student rides their horse to school, the school principal has to feed and tend to the horse throughout the day,” the school district said. “It looks like Mr. DeBruycker has his work cut out for him today,” noted the Charlotte Observer.

Just horsing around

The school’s principal, Raymond DeBruycker, was surprised by the unusual sight when he arrived to find these seniors had decided to carry wander in like cowboys. Far from being irritated, DeBruycker took the horseplay in stride.

Rather than meting out punishment, DeBruycker saw the humor and chose to honor the spirit of camaraderie and tradition. Clearly, he know it wasn’t causing any harm. In fact, it was connecting students to a facet of Montana’s cowboy culture in a fun and memorable way.

Even in the face of this unconventional situation, DeBruycker’s response was a testament to the tight-knit community at Conrad High School. It was clear that everyone wanted to honor the historical customs.

Whether or not there is a bona fide law permitting students to ride horses to school, one thing is certain. This tradition is becoming an endearing prank at a few different Montana schools.

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Source: “Students ride horses to school, and Montana ‘law’ means principal has to care for them” — Charlotte Observer

WTF Fun Fact 12679 – OutHorse Your E-Mail

Visit Iceland recently got a weird idea. They’ve launched an out-of-office email service called OutHorse Your Email” so you can outsource to a horse.

So, apparently, you can get a horse to write your OOO emails.

This was all brought about by a survey that found that 55% of vacationers check their email at least once and 60% said their bosses expected a response. (Of course, we’re not sure how bosses respond to horse emails, but that’s a survey for the future.)

Check this out:

It seems like a joke, right? Well, there’s a website and all you need to do is select a horse and put in your email information to generate your email.

According to IFL Science:

“The huge typing platform is then placed outside with the stunning backdrop of Iceland to complement the tip-tapping of typing horses writing the OOO emails of lazy humans. You can get your own emails written via the Visit Iceland website where Litla Stjarna Star from Hvítárholt, Hrímnir from Hvammi and Hekla from Þorkellshó are waiting to assist you.”

We’re sure your boss will be pleased. –  WTF fun fact

Source: “In Iceland, Horses Will Write Your “Out Of Office” Emails For You” — IFL Science