Beastly Beat
Roscoe the Double-Wattled Cassowary

Roscoe was hatched on July 4, 2000. He came to the Alexandria Zoo in April 2001 from the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo in Monroe. Roscoe is a very curious cassowary and will follow visitors as they walk past his exhibit. When one of the Zoo's many peacocks fly into his exhibit, Roscoe will chase them back and forth until they fly back out. During the hot summer months, Roscoe's zookeeper will place a sprinkler near by his exhibit as enrichment. Roscoe will stand under the streaming water and make a mud hole in the ground to play in.

Some birds such as emus, cassowaries, and ostriches have degenerative wings and cannot fly. A cassowary's flight feathers are reduced to coarse spines used to protect its flanks as it moves through the dense rainforest of Australia. Cassowaries can run fast (up to 30 miles per hour) and have razor-sharp claws that are used as a weapon against predators.

The cassowary is an animal with a mainly frugivorous diet. Although these birds occasionally consume small vertebrates, fungi, and insects, the majority of their food is fruits and berries found on the rainforest floor and from low-hanging branches. The cassowary is an important disperser of more than a hundred species of rainforest plants. Many of the seeds and fruits the cassowary eats pass nearly intact through the relatively short digestive tract of the bird, and are more likely to sprout than those that fell to the ground on their own.

The cassowary exhibit is located adjacent to the Australian Walkabout.

Click here to learn more about cassowaries.