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.