The truth about ostriches' heads in the sand

Breathing would be the problem

Mattster: Where did the idea come from that ostriches stick their heads in the sand when they’re frightened? Do they really do that? How do they keep from inhaling the sand? — Curious Person, San Diego

Congratulations. You cleverly identified the big flaw in that particular old wives’ tale. Ostriches will sometimes flatten themselves on the ground when things are looking dicey — or as flat as a big lumpy bird can get, anyway. That’s the likely source of the story. But either way, you’ve got to figure the ostrich is a pretty delusional bird.

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