At least the animals are having a good time

Published 6:26 pm Friday, July 31, 2020

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Imagine you’re at a hotel, minding your business and eating at the bar when someone comes along to snatch your food right out of your hands. You’d be pretty upset, right? I certainly would be!

Now imagine if the someone stealing your food isn’t a person at all but a giant, overly friendly bird with no sense of boundaries.

That’s just what was happening at a little hotel in Queensland, Australia with a pair of emus who had acquired the ability to climb stairs to visit the hotel’s pub, according to a story from NPR this past week.

The two emus, siblings named Kevin and Carol who came from an abandoned nest, are quite popular around the Yaraka Hotel and often like to pose for photos with visitors and hotel guests. But when they figured out how to ascend the staircase leading to the pub, they also started snatching toast and fries from customers and hanging out behind the bar. (Imagine an emu bartender! Now that I’d like to see, no matter how impossible it would be with the lack of hands.)

Hotel co-owner Gerry Gimblett eventually had to put up an “emu barrier” to keep them from wandering inside. She also put up a sign that says “Emus have been banned from this establishment for bad behavior.”

Gimblett joked in an interview that she doesn’t think the emus will be able to read it, and she hopes the birds don’t learn how to limbo under the new barrier designed to keep them away from the stairs.

No matter how cute those emus are, there’s no excuse for poor table manners! But hey, I can also appreciate their desire to just hang out with hotel patrons stopping by for a drink.

NPR has had a couple of other interesting animal-related stories recently that have caught my eye.

Last week, a rare blue lobster was found, the odds of which are estimated to be one in two million. Where was it, you ask? It just so happened to be a Red Lobster restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Wait a minute… Ohio?!

One of the restaurant staffers, Lora Jones, was unpacking their most recently delivery of live lobsters and noticed one that looked quite different from the others. Blue in a sea of mottled brown is quite hard to miss!

Perhaps it helped too that Jones had once been a recipient of the restaurant’s “blue lobster award” so that helped her realize this one might be a little more special than the others.

Instead of sending the blue lobster on its way to someone’s plate for dinner, the restaurant contacted the Seafood Watch Program they partner with and was able to help the unusual lobster, which they named “Clawde,” find a home in the Akron Zoo.

Clawde will have some time to acclimate to her new home for a while since the indoor displays at the zoo are still closed due to pandemic restrictions for now.

Speaking of zoos, however, many are starting to reopen with limited amounts of visitors per day and only making the outdoor exhibits open for the public. Another recent NPR article detailed the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s efforts to get ready for reopening.

Zoo staffer Craig Saffoe said he’d missed being able to interact with visitors while the zoo was shut down, not getting the chance to encourage education about the animals he works with. Some animals born during the shutdown will get the opportunity to enjoy human visitors for the first time.

But not all of the animals have missed the crowds of people.

“We haven’t seen the cats get super excited about seeing people, but that’s honestly to be expected,” Saffoe was quoted in the article. “Cats, whether they’re your cats at home or giant cats like ours, are cats.”

Ain’t that the truth! Cats will always continue to go about their business whether or not humans are around to witness it.

So to recap: lions are just enjoying life without people, a blue lobster found a new home far away from someone’s dinner plate, and a pair of emus in Australia got a little too rowdy at the pub.

We humans might not be having the best year, but at least the animals are having a good time.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.