One of the delightful things about living in a new environment is getting to know the local fauna. There are plenty of birds around here because of the river, the lake and the dense vegetation on the surroundings limestone hills. There are the usual suspects – sparrows, mynahs, doves and swallows – but there are also herons and kingfishers because of the abundant fish life in the river and lake, and small birds that visit our garden and are new to us. Two examples are the black-and-white magpie robin and the sweet yellow-vented bulbul who visit in pairs, the male with his tufted head. My attention is often distracted from the computer screen by vervet monkeys swinging from tree to tree across the river from our house. They are noisy creatures, chattering to each other and sometimes they have loud arguments. Twice I have glimpsed furry, brown squirrels leaping through the trees. We have also seen huge lizards lazily crossing the road or swimming in the lake. There are also frogs and huge cicadas – when I first heard them I thought one of our neighbours had started up a chainsaw! Most impressive of all, we’ve had a snake in our dining-room. It came in through the ranch-slider while we were out on the front veranda and I walked right past it without seeing it! Jim, coming in after me, noticed it. It was struggling to get traction on the highly polished tiles so was easy to get into a box. Not knowing whether it was poisonous or not, we treated it with great respect and Jim released it as far away from the houses as he could get without crossing the river. I hope visiting snakes will not be happening often.