“Frances, open the door quick!” my husband called out from the stairs early this morning. He just got back from sending Alexandra to school.
I was in the bedroom, tidying up the bed. Rushing out to the door, I saw his excited face.
“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to something long and orange in color, jutting out from his left palm which was closed into a fist.
“I’ve something interesting to show you. Can you guess what it was?” he asked smilingly.
Upon closer inspection, I saw a little orange-colored beak. Oh, it must be some kind of bird!
I broke into a light giggle and shook my head. “I’m sure it must be some bird but I don’t know what kind, please tell me!”
He slowly opened up his closed palm and revealed a little furry head with big round black eyes. Its orange-colored beak was trying to peck at his hands.
“It’s a baby kingfisher. Its legs were injured. I found it on the pavement downstairs after parking the car,” he said while fondling its furry head with his other hand.
“Are you keeping it?” I asked him.
“Of course not, I’ll set it free once its legs got better. It belongs to the wild. Meanwhile, let’s find a little box to keep it away from harm’s way,” he said.
I went to the store-room and got out a cardboard box. We punched some holes into it and put the little bird inside. It stood clumsily, looking around its new home. It looked frightened and bewildered to be kept inside a strange environment.
It was a new born baby, the size of a ping-pong ball with orange-colored belly and dark brown wings. It was such a little beauty.
“Let me get my camera first. I wanted to take its pictures before releasing it,” my husband said. He loved to take photos for his photography blog.
“Nicholas, wake up and come look what your daddy found downstairs,” I woke my son up.
He got up and rubbed his eyes, annoyed that I woke him up so early.
“Come and have a look at this baby kingfisher inside the box,” I pointed to the little bird inside the box, looking out at us with wide eyes.
“Why does a kingfisher came to our house? I thought you can only find them in jungles, rivers or mangroves?” my son asked.
“I don’t know where it came from. We used to have strange visitors, once in a while,” I told him.
Although we stayed in the middle of the city with skyscrapers all around us, sometimes we do get some visitors we least expected. No, they don’t linger long, thankfully, but just for brief appearances.
My husband came back with his camera. “Open the lid slightly so that I could take his photos,” he instructed his son.
With his nimble fingers, Nicholas slowly opened the lid but alas, before his daddy could adjust his camera to find the right angle, out flew the little bird which we all thought was injured. It flew out straight with such agility and precision that left us in disbelief. It left us in split seconds and got us fooled.
From where we stood near the door, we could see that it landed on a tree branch next to the lamp post outside our house before soaring away high into the sky.
No, we could not get its photo to keep for remembrance. This is the first time a kingfisher came to our house. It flew away just like that.
There are other visitors too, big and small.
Our potted plants sometimes pulled in a few rare and colorful butterflies. One butterfly was even spotted on some artificial cherry blossoms which we put up for the Chinese New Year!
Some years back, we spotted a pair of grey civet, the size of a dog, sitting on our roof. They disappeared as fast as they appeared. They did come back a few times before they got caught by some neighbors. Each time, they left before we could even reach for the camera too.
From my kitchen window, I saw monkeys and squirrels before, swinging and running on tree branches several meters away. They are a common sight in my vicinity as there were many trees behind my house. But sadly, their populations had dwindled as most of these trees were chopped down to make way for the LRT or Light Railway Transit line running behind my place.
And then, there was this strayed dog from don’t know where. On some evenings, it would suddenly appear at my door-step at around the same time, usually about five o’clock. It would bark loudly, indicating that it wanted to come in for some cuddles. We loved to open our door to him for he was a friendly fellow.
My husband would give him a nice bath with the water hose before letting him inside.
Once inside, he would roam around the house, from front to the back and almost every room. It loved to smell the sofa and chairs, the books on the coffee table, the children’s stationeries on the shelves, the computers and laptops and even the plants along the corridor. It then lies down on the floor, roll over its belly and grins at the children who could not resist stroking it. This dog also loved to bite playfully at our hands. When it had enough of human’s touches, it will get up and ran down the stairs before disappearing among the parked cars on both lanes.
We did try to keep it but it resisted by barking at the locked grille doors, indicating that it wanted to leave after each visit. In the end we knew better. It just wanted to come for a visit and not to stay for good! Even biscuits failed to entice him. All he ever asked for is some human’s companionship, nothing else. We respected his decision.
The scariest visitor of all was the king cobra. Last year, on a particular evening, my daughter and I were having a nap in her room. Only the two of us were at home then. I left the front grille door padlocked while the wooden door was open to keep the living room air ventilated. Suddenly I was woken up by a loud commotion at the front grille door. I got up and rushed out to see what it was.
My neighbor was calling out to me, “Just now, a snake was found gliding towards your door. Luckily a boy staying upstairs saw it and with a stick, chased it away down into the drain,” she said frantically.
“A snake, oh my goodness!” I almost fainted on hearing that. I HATED snakes and it had to appear at my door-step!
“I saw it too. It was a king cobra, shining black in color, about six feet long and has the thickness of an arm,” Pauline, my neighbor said.
I just stood frozen on the spot, undecided what to do next. It was raining very heavily outside. Maybe the heavy rain washed its home behind my house and brought it over to my place. I just can’t understand how a snake can climb the stairs for I stayed at the first floor and not on the ground floor.
I thanked my lucky stars that the boy upstairs saw it and got rid of it for me, for otherwise, what will happen to both of us if it got into my house? One of us might get bitten and it would be very fatal.
I quickly reached my husband on the mobile and told him about the snake that appeared at our door-step.
“When the rain had stopped, quickly go to a hard-ware shop nearby and ask for sulphur powder which is yellow in color. Buy a big bag and sprinkle them all over the stairs, the door and kitchen window, just any nook and corner in the house,” he instructed me.
I hated rainy seasons for it brings snakes to my vicinity and this gave me nightmares. I hated the sight of its slippery and long body. A snake is the one and only animal I dreaded the most. Yes, I still sprinkle sulphur all over my house although I doubted its effectiveness. Some people said it works; others said it does not; yet I do not know what else I should do to prevent snakes from coming near my house.
I had long given up hopes on the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur or the city authorities. Countless calls were made and letters were written, asking them to come over and clear up the mini jungle behind my house but to no avail. That’s the problem with our local councils; they are not there when you needed them the most.
It is nice to have some visitors occasionally but the snake is not welcome! If anyone of you knows how to prevent snakes from entering the house, kindly share with me, okay?