Many a disguise has been donned in the line of duty, from Batman’s pursuit of criminals as the Dark Knight to everyone’s favorite essential worker from the pandemic. Recently, it fell to one man in Thailand to dress as an eight-foot ostrich and stage an escape to keep the Chiang Mai Zoo on top of its “wild animal management plan”.
People dressing as animals for dress rehearsal escapes is nothing new. Tobe Zoo in Ehime, Japan, conducted a “lion escape” drill in 2019, with a worker in a less-than-convincing lion suit attempting to flee as colleagues attempted to pen them in.
However, it could be argued that this more recent “ostrich escape” really went above and beyond in the costume department. Photos shared to the zoo’s Facebook page show a person with white face paint, a dunce-hat-turned-ostrich head, and a barrel-like body suit.
The “ostrich” was taking part in a training drill that’s intended to prepare zoo staff should one day an actual ostrich break free. At up to three meters (10 feet) tall and weighing as much as 140 kilograms (309 pounds), an escaped ostrich is a force to be reckoned with.
When disturbed, they can reach intimidating speeds of up to 72.5 kilometers (45 miles) per hour using their powerful legs to get away. If cornered, they can redeploy those legs as weapons, kicking and ripping with their taloned toes.
Johnny Cash reportedly almost died at the feet of an ostrich he encountered when walking one day. The animal kicked Cash after he tried to hit it with a stick, only narrowly avoiding disemboweling him thanks to a thick belt.
While the zoo worker made for a lovely-looking ostrich, chances are they weren’t quite up to the task of pegging it around the zoo at over 40 miles per hour. As such, their colleagues were eventually able to capture the runaway with the help of a fishing net.