Well, they do live in trees. I wanted an owl.
Sunday April 01st 2012, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

Finished a lace scarf in sheared unharmed mink, started another while listening to General Conference. Sunday knitting is give-away knitting.

The sessions ended.

Looked up.

What the heck was *that*?! Beige-gray scruffy behind and a lizard tail. I should have known–it just so took me by surprise. ‘Tain’t no cat.

It lifted its snout out of my metal cup of water that a chickadee had bathed in just a little earlier and grimaced back at me.

Opossums are ugly enough, but this one beat all. Its head was way outsized for its body, and I’ve seen possums before–I doublechecked that impression when it came back later, and yes, its head really was enormous for its species. Its tail and part of its feet are of the same structure as crocodile claws (scute! Shoo!) and as soon as I opened the door and clapped my hands for it to go away, it bared its teeth at me.

This is the land equivalent of staring at a shark’s face.

Richard asked me to please shut the door behind me when I do such a thing?

Stamping my feet and clapping and yelling, I got it to go away. Git! (And Richard was right, it had been ten feet away from getting inside, with me halfway between it and all the birdfood it could desire sitting right there if it had gotten past me.)

That was at 3:00. I was always taught, growing up in the woods, that if you saw a possum or a raccoon in the middle of the day to give it a wide berth, that it was a potential sign of rabies.

I saw it scuttle back cross the patio two hours later and then disappear on the other side of the box to a spot where to discourage it from staying I would have had to get between it and its escape.

This time I did shut that door, and this time I brought out the newly-reloaded supersoaker. Stand back.

It hustled across the patio (squirt again!) past the shed (squirt!) and back out the gate (squirt!) that was open just wide enough for it. As far as I can tell, it ducked under my neighbor’s gate and into their garden, but I wasn’t going to follow it closely enough to be sure.

I haven’t seen any of the neighborhood cats in some time, probably because I told one neighbor the size of the zone-tailed hawk (52″.) I kind of was hoping for an owl after seeing a rat trying to help itself to some suet in the late afternoon about a week ago, the first time I’d seen a rat in three years. Predators are the only means of controlling such things outside that are acceptable to me, and I’d much rather it were one native to the environment.

The rat hasn’t been seen for days.

I wonder if the possum shed crocodile tears over its tasty snack.

9 Comments so far
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Are you kidding me? I would have been on the phone to animal control RIGHT NOW. Seriously, a possum in Ca?

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 04.02.12 @ 7:07 am

I hate possums. Mugsy used to slay them for us. The Knight was proud. I hated it.

Comment by Channon 04.02.12 @ 8:20 am

Shedding crocodile tears? Probably thinking, “I HAD a bath .. uh, 2 years ago?”

Comment by Don Meyer 04.02.12 @ 9:18 am

My neighbor called me one time to alert me to the fact that there was a rabid raccoon running through our yards and the animal control officer asked her why she didnt corner it so he could capture it. WHAAAAAAAT???!!!! Was he serious?! Unfortunately, yes!

Comment by Jody 04.02.12 @ 9:23 am

My neighbors returned from a funeral to find their 15 year old decked out in a combination of paintball and sports protective gear standing guard between his dogs and his little brother and a racoon sitting on the other side of the fence. The parents called animal control who came out, picked up the racoon, and determined that it was sick and injured, but not rabid, much to everyone’s relief.

And yes, opposums are ugly critters.

Comment by LauraN 04.02.12 @ 9:50 am

I’m remember a post entitled Bird Possum. I think this one thought that was short for Bird Food for Possum.

My sympathies are a bit with the possum – I used to hold a hand reared one for the kids visiting the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to observe. Still, I chuckled at Richard’s advice – very good advice, indeed!

Comment by twinsetellen 04.02.12 @ 3:31 pm

Yikes! Yes, not cute, cuddly creatures. When we fed outdoor cats, we would get raccoons. One was huge and didn’t even flinch when I would stomp, shout and wave the broom. Needed that super-soaker.

Comment by DebbieR 04.02.12 @ 10:10 pm

Our big great-horned owl took care of all our possums. 🙂 So, I’d keep hoping for one of those!

Comment by kmom 04.03.12 @ 9:52 am

All hail Alison, scourge of possums!

Comment by RobinH 04.03.12 @ 4:56 pm

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