I wasn’t entirely eaten, but I was bitten by an ostrich. Ostriches are not native to Malaysia, and I was visiting a small zoo called Deerland near Kuala Gandah, which is about two and a half hours drive east of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
The drive itself is worth doing as you pass through the mountains which dominate the spine of Peninsula Malaysia.
I called in to Deerland simply because it was there, as I was on my way to the nearby National Elephant Sanctuary.
Apparently, this zoo is simply the retirement project for a gentleman who has a love for animals.
Deerland is certainly not ostentatious, and the animals appear to be treated with great respect. It is not a sophisticated zoo by any means, but I did enjoy myself there.
Soon after entering you reach a large pen in which there are many small deer.
These are native Malaysian Samba Deer, and are really quite small. You can purchase a small basket of cut vegetables with which to feed the deer. Some deer are more pushy than others, but they have very soft mouths, so it is actually a pleasant feeling when they gently accept the pieces that you offer to them.
Right next to the deer is a sole ostrich, who too, understandably, wants to be fed.
Mr or Mrs Ostrich, I don’t know how to tell the gender, does not have a soft mouth. Ostrich has a hard, sharp beak. Ostrich is certainly not ungrateful for the food, but in grabbing for the proffered food just chomps down, and in one instance felt like my thumb had almost been severed.
That bite hurt quite a bit, but I persevered and worked out that you throw the food into the ostrich mouth just as it is closing and avoid being bitten.
I loved the deer, and the ostrich and I even cuddled a baby hedgehog, which is similar to cuddling a cactus.
However, I couldn’t without draping the large python about myself.
I love snakes, and also spiders for that matter, but to feel its cool skin around my neck made me feel much safer than feeding an ostrich.