An emu, hatched from an egg bought online, has been rescued from a garden in Hampshire.

The RSPCA said the bird, named Elvis, had been kept along with chickens in the New Forest and had no contact with other emus.

The charity said the egg had been bought over the web and handed on to its current owner.

Elvis was moved to a specialist centre in Gloucestershire where he now resides with fellow emu Cilla.

The RSPCA was contacted after a neighbour had concerns for the welfare of the three-year-old bird.

Officers visited the property and agreed with the owner to rehome the animal to give it more space and contact with other emus.

Last year the charity was contacted with concerns for another emu which had been hatched from an egg bought online.

RSPCA senior scientific officer for exotics, Nicola White, urged people not to be tempted to buy exotic animals over the web.

“Unfortunately it is all too easy nowadays to buy exotic – and sometimes dangerous – animals online at the click of a button,” she said.

“The giant birds, which are native to Australia, stay with their parent for up to 18 months in the wild.

“If hand-reared, emu chicks may imprint on their owner, instead of their parent, and then get distressed when the owner leaves.

“Problems can also occur as they mature, as they may see their owner as their sexual partner and this can lead to aggression.”