When an enormous and dangerous bird that you’ve known for years decides to take your relationship to the next level, how do you politely decline?
That’s the problem that confronted Australian couple Sue and Peter Leach on Monday when Peanut the cassowary unexpectedly entered their home.
Peanut has been visiting the Leach’s garden at Mission Beach in Queensland since he was a chick.
But Mrs Leach said this was the first time he had entered the house itself.
“At about four in the afternoon I was in the kitchen and my husband called out from the dining room, ‘uh-oh, we’ve got a visitor’,” she said.
“Pete ducked behind the dining table and I high-tailed it out of the house. Peanut was very calm, he just wandered in and around the dining room.
“I was just hoping he didn’t spot the fruit bowl, because then he’d really want to come in all the time. And I was hoping he wouldn’t slip on the tiles, because then he’d be really spooked.”
Cassowaries are large, flightless birds with colourful markings that are native to New Guinea and northern Australia.
They can run at speeds of up to 50km/h (31 mph) and have a long, dagger-like claw on their second toe that can be used to lash out at threats, including humans.
Mrs Leach said she was happy Peanut did not leave any evidence of his visit, as cassowary poo was large, purple and tended to stain.
“I think it was a mistake that he wandered into the house because he’s never done that before,” she said.
“I think he just made a wrong turn.”