Saturday, July 12, 2008

Playin' (with) Possum

So, it's after midnight and I should be asleep by now, since I was up entirely too late last night... which was in part due to spending a good chunk of time in the wee hours trying to figure out just how to get the possum out of our breakfast nook. Yes, possum. Or opossum, to some folks. And the reason I'm up later than I should be is so I can write about it.

We first saw her in a neighbor's yard a week or so ago, just trundling across the yard in the way that only a possum can. Then, on Tuesday night she appeared in our back room... you see, we leave the back door open much of the time so our cats have easy transit in and out... and there she was, munching away on dry cat food. She scurried out the door as soon as she realized she was being watched, but reappeared the next night, and seemed much less impressed with our presence. After that, I moved the cat dishes out of the back room, figuring that a possum would never brave the journey from our deck, through the back room, through the kitchen, into the breakfast nook, deep inside our house. Well, I was wrong, cuz there she was last night, chowing down on cat food, with Annie's cat Tomas lying across the room, just observing her. Tomas is more anthropologist than hunter, apparently, preferring to watch and study rather than stalk.

(That's her trying to hide behind the cat carrier in our breakfast nook. And yes, we keep a bicycle in our breakfast nook... and seven in our spare room... and five or six in the shed... and there are a couple at work.. oh, never mind, you get the picture...)

Anyway, after trying the "leave her alone and she'll find her way out" theory for quite a long while, I finally grabbed a broom and a spray bottle of water and scooted her out and shut the door. I was concerned about shutting the door, since the cats were both still out, but when I went to open it about a half an hour later, there was Ms. Possum, crawling up the back steps to see if the coast was clear. I'm not sure who was more startled.. she quickly scurried off into the dark, and I went inside and shut the door. And the cats stayed out all night. I figured that was better than having a wild animal wandering about the house.

Tonight we managed to get the cats in at a reasonable hour (okay, reasonable to us, not to them) and shut the door, so no marsupial incursions tonight. It was a near thing though... after I confidently stated earlier today "possums only come out after dark", imagine my surprise at walking out to the deck to call in the cats... and seeing a little grey head pop up over the top step and stare at me with beady little eyes. I'd apparently made some impression on the little critter last night though.. she turned and raced (well, raced at possum-speed) down the steps, under the fence and across the neighbor's yard to a stand of trees. Needless to say, I'm learning not to make assumptions about possum behavior.

Now, if we can silence the whining of the cats...


The Driver said...

I have the same problem. The thing is that once they find an easy place to score some food they will be very persistent about returning. They are cute at first but then turn into a pest.

Tim said...

Well, we're hoping we can shut the door early enough in the evening to keep the little critter out, and that she'll find easier pickings somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

What is it with bloggers and possums this summer?

I read this on another blog a couple weeks ago:

Warning, it's pretty graphic.


beth h said...

Be glad it's not a raccoon. They're huge, eerily fearless and quite vicious when they want to be. They also populate our neighborhood quite heavily. And they kill cats, which is why we don't allow ours outside, ever.
Good luck on this one. Maybe contact the local Audabon society or similar to see what they suggest.