Australian Outback pub bans messy emus for ‘bad behavior’

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – An Australian Outback pub has banned emus for “misbehavior” and erected barriers to prevent large flightless birds from wreaking havoc on the interior.

Locals and tourists alike have been baffled by the antics of emuses eager to steal food from people in Yaraka, a remote Queensland state outpost with a permanent population of 18 years.

But things took an intolerable turn last week when two of the birds, Carol and Kevin, discovered they could climb the stairs of the Yaraka Hotel, the only pub, publican Chris Gimblett said Tuesday.

“They learned to climb the steps of the hotel, which has caused only a few problems,” especially with the amount of debris, he said.

Gimblett solved the problem by placing a rope at the top of the stairs. A sign advises customers to replace the rope once they enter because “emus has been kicked out of this establishment for bad behavior.”

The inquisitive emus are not yet smart enough to duck under the rope to enter the pub.

While Australian pubs occasionally have a parrot at the bar, emus are not indoor birds.

“When emus are scared, they go forward, but they usually look back so they can’t see where they are going and this is where chaos can happen,” Gimblett said. “They bump into everything.”

Visitors staying at the Yaraka RV Park have been surprised at how much Emus will steal food, including snacking on a fried egg from a barbecue dish, Gimblett said.

“They will lean out the (trailer) door with their long necks and take toast out of the toaster,” he said.

“If you have a cup of coffee on the table by the door, they will drink all the coffee, without spilling it, I might add. You just discovered that your cup is empty. They are just eating machines, “he added.

There used to be eight emus in Yaraka. A resident rescued eggs from an abandoned nest in 2018 and incubated them with the help of an electric blanket. But everyone except Carol and Kevin have moved on, apparently looking for partners.

“We are in lockdown mode,” Gimblett said of his barricade bar. “At least it’s emus and not coronavirus.”