I'm gone! Are ostriches really stuck in the sand?

It is an old fairy tale that has developed into a socially acceptable metaphor: there is danger, so the ostrich sticks its head in the sand because it believes that nobody can see it anymore. Let's face it, we should give the giant birds a little bit of intelligence. Image: the_builder - Fotolia.com

Ostrich doesn't stick its head in the sand

This fairy tale goes back to antiquity. According to the motto "I can't see anything, so I'm gone", the ostrich would stick its head in the sand if there was any danger. In fact, the head of the savannah can often not be made out by a mere reflection of the air when the giant birds lift something off the ground in their extensive surroundings. The head disappears behind the savannah-typical, low grass. If there is an acute threat to the offspring, ostriches lay flat on their nest to camouflage it. In this case too, from a distance, it looks as if they are acting as the metaphor suggests.

A metaphor that made it into the Bundesliga

Even if an adult bouquet feels threatened, it does not stick its head in the sand. Rather, they lay their heads on the ground to hide from enemies and to hear sounds better. Which may not be the worst option with such a long neck. Nonetheless, the phrase has established itself in our society and is not always used unerringly, as Lothar Matthäus impressively demonstrated with his saying "Now we shouldn't just put the sand in our heads".

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