Animal experts will tell you that this belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to avoid predators is nothing more than a myth. After all, if an ostrich buried its head in the sand, it would soon die of asphyxiation. Given what we know about ostriches, though, it’s easy to see how this myth got started.
Ostriches are the largest and heaviest living birds in the world. Despite standing seven to nine feet tall and weighing as much as 350 pounds, these birds have relatively small heads. When nesting, they dig shallow holes in the ground to use as nests for their eggs. They use their beaks to turn their eggs several times each day. From a distance, an ostrich leaning into a hole to turn an egg could easily look like it’s burying its head in the sand!