Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Urban Wildlife

I have a possum. An opossum. Whatever. This picture is not my possum, but some random internet possum. Looks like mine, though.

Yesterday morning I pulled into my driveway around 7:45, just in time to see a creature run out from under my neighbor's house, across the driveway and under my house. WTF??????

We have lots of cats in the neighborhood. It was not a cat. The last thing I saw was a rat-like tail slinking under my house. Not a cat. But not a rat - too big. And furry. Not a cat - too round.

So I went inside and forgot about it. I mean, we've had raccoons around here through the years. One time I had a family of four living in my garage; that is, until the mama got her paw stuck in the door and then moved the family out once she got free.

This morning, getting ready for work, I let Checkers out (she's a Boston Terrier/French Bulldog mix.) Normally she will go out, do her thing, sniff around a little, and come on in. She stayed out longer than usual so I went out on the deck looking for her. And there she is in the back corner of the backyard sniffing what looks like a dead cat. No! Can't be!

I called her off and walked, cautiously, over to check it out. It's a possum. He (she?) was curled up as if sleeping, rat-like tail curled around him. The long, pointed snout sort of surprised me; I've never actually seen a possum up close. But then I had to figure out what to do about it. I wasn't thrilled about a dead possum in my yard.

I decided to wait for Steve to come and let him bury it. Meanwhile, my dog smelled like dead possum.

Of course, by now you have figured out he was not really dead - just playing possum. When I went back out a few minutes later he was gone. Gone! A little online research and I learned that possums will emit a putrid odor while playing dead which is why my dog smelled bad.

So where is possum now? I have no idea. What I read said that they won't usually attack, but I saw pictures of some terribly unfriendly looking possums. I just hope if Checkers finds him again, he decides to play dead again.


Nikki said...

One day, when I was living alone in my apartment, I was walking down the stairs to the parking lot so I could go to work. So I'm walking, and I get to the second floor of the apartment building and see a cat near the unit farthest from the stairs. I think, "Oooh, kitty!" and start walking over to pet it. As I get closer, I see it's not a cat, but a possum. It just stood there and looked at me. I was not so brave. I screamed and ran down the stairs, completely petrified. I have no idea how I mistook it for a cat. I either had a very bad contacts prescription or some very serious wishful thinking.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Are you sure that wasn't a DHS agent checking up on you. You ARE after all a right wing extremist!

sheryl said...

living in rural iowa, we have a few possum stories. once mom went to the woodshed to feed the cats. it was nearly dark but she could see that one of the "cats" was a possum. it seems like she has a few possum/cat stories. mom, daddy and stan all have possum stories-most involve trying to kill them. possums are nearly impossible to kill. after being left for dead, they'd 'playing possum', then get up and leave.

Steve said...

As Sheryl said, growing up in rural Iowa gave us all sorts of animal (domesticated and wild) stories. I even had a pet raccoon that I would put a dog harness on and walk around the farm.

My biggest possum story didn't happen in rural Iowa, but in an urban setting, where I'm a police officer.

One night, years ago, when I was a young patrolman, I was out rattling doors on a large warehouse. It was dark on the back side of the building, but I walked that area so many times, I didn't need a flashlight, or so I thought.

I heard a blood curdling scream as I was coming around the backside of the building. I pulled my weapon and drew down on the direction of the sound;then, I shine my flashlight in the same direction.

My foot was no more than three feet from a several rows of razor sharp teeth that so happened was attached to a possum, and the possum wasn't giving away any ground.

He was more determined than I was, so I gave him a wide berth, and moved around him. He continued screaming all the while.

sheryl said...

wonder why steve's possum didn't play possum???

mom said that it was a skunk, not at possum, in the woodshed. so they quit feeding the cats in the woodshed and started feeding them in the garage. that's where the possum joined the cats. daddy then built a shelf high on the porch to feed the cats, and sure enough, one time when mom was feeding the cats, there was a possum on the shelf waiting for his supper.