A Switzerland-based computer programmer and amateur cyclist was cycling along a South African road when a wild ostrich started chasing him.
Oleksiy Mishchenko made a GoPro video of the encounter. “You can hear me laughing from my bike,” he said. “I thought I was going to fall off.”
Mishchenko said the cyclists were pedalling downhill and were going about 30mph. The massive bird seems to keep up with Mishchenko easily, which makes sense as their average top speed has been recorded over 40mph.
“It didn’t cross my mind that it could be a threat,” said Mishchenko.
Ostriches aren’t known for being hostile, but if they feel threatened they can end up attacking with their powerful legs, which are strong enough to kill lions.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” said biologist Craig Packer, a National Geographic explorer and professor at the University of Minnesota who studies African wildlife.
“I’ve never seen people on bicycles near ostriches before,” adds Packer, who has made close-up pictures of the birds through his “Serengeti Selfie” project. “We don’t know what was going on in that bird’s mind.”
Maybe animals are more complicated than we thought, Craig. I mean, the video speaks for itself.