Cassowaries don't make the best dinner guests. For a start, there's a very good chance the flightless birds will leave purple poop stains on your floor (and then there's the small matter of their dagger-like "death claws").

But how do you turn away a two-metre-tall bird that's stopped by uninvited?

Cassoway In House 1 2015 04 18
Image © Peter Leach

Australian couple Sue and Peter Leach found themselves facing that conundrum recently when "Peanut" – a cassowary that regularly visits their garden to feast on fruit and berries – decided to see what was on offer inside the family's home in Far North Queensland. 

“We were a bit surprised as this was the first time he has come into the house," explains Sue Leach. "We didn't spook him so he wandered around, then calmly walked out the front door."

Cassoway In House 2 2015 04 18
Image © Peter Leach

So should you duck for cover if a cassowary makes an unexpected visit? Probably. Related to the emu and found only in small pockets in Far North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, the cassowary has a reputation that makes Jurassic Park's velociraptors look like farm chickens (which is probably more accurate anyway).

The birds have powerful legs (all the better to kick you with), a horned helmet they use to break through foliage, and they can reach speeds of up to 50kmph (31mph).

But despite what you might have heard, the fruit-munching (hence those purple poop stains) cassowaries probably won't disembowel you, and are unlikely to attack unless provoked. 

"He has been walking past our place, through our yard and into the rainforest for almost four years now," Sue Leach told CBC. "I think he made a wrong turn."

Well done to the Leaches for getting out of Peanut's way and handling the situation calmly. We have seen far, far less composed reactions to avian visitors ...


Header image: Cuatrok77