An extremely timid ostrich-sized bird capable of disemboweling a human with its sharp claws is on the loose in the quiet English countryside

A serious beaking could be on the cards for someone

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The Independent Online

It's a good job the Giant Rhea bird is known for being extremely timid, because if it wasn't it might claw you right in the stomach.

Standing at over six feet tall, capable of running at speeds of 40mph and with claws so sharp they can (according to some scary reports) disembowel a human being with a single blow, it's a good job it scares easily.

The people of Hertfordshire could be forgiven for brushing up on their Giant Rhea knowledge after one was spotted on the loose in the English countryside.

The bird, which went missing from its owner four weeks ago in Brent Pelham, a village in east Hertfordshire, has been spotted in fields around the area after being spooked by the local hunt.

Its owner, Jo Clarke, who keeps four of the birds, told ITV News that understandably she has no idea how to recapture the massive, fast moving, potentially deadly bird.

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A local man Ray Murdoch caught sight of the bird while on a bike ride through Nuthampstead: "In the distance I saw what appeared to be a large bird, the closer I got the more perplexed I got, I thought it was a crane, I got closer, no it isn't, I thought it was an ostrich, by the time I drew almost level to it, it was looking over its shoulder at me, trotting along, and I thought it was an emu," he said.

Jane Garner, a Brent Pelham resident, told ITV the bird had been spotted around the villages.

Preferring to take a less alarmist view on the potential of the large bird to beak someone she told reporters: "The good thing about it is there is plenty of food and the weather's nice so it's as happy as anything!" 

The RSPCA is urging anyone who spots the bird to get in contact with them immediately.