Possum HideoutOur yard has had some serious pruning in the last six months. Trees at the back and front of the house used to overhang the roof, much to the delight of travelling possums. They must be quite heavy, possums, because I could have sworn a small child or an ROUS (Rodent Of Unusual Size) had just flung itself onto my tin roof as it alighted from a tree branch. As a single possum sauntered overhead, it's claws clacking on tin, the noise was quite bearable. If it met another possum coming the other way, it was not. The roof sounded like it was being peeled back as World War III would erupt directly above me.
As I said, we had the trees cut back. For several weeks the possums could be heard on the front porch of a night time, wandering aimlessly past where only a stump remained of the tree they once knew. My sister, who would spend hours reading a book under the porch, would often come face-to-face with a possum looking for answers. If only they could speak English, or my sister could speak Possum, maybe they would have found the enlightenment they sought. Instead they could only stare each other down. Sometimes another possum would come by to see where the highway had gone and another scuffle would break out. "At least we still had fighting," the old timers would tell younger possums in generations to come.
This all to tell you the following. Last Sunday we were preparing for a large family gathering at our house. On opening the barbeque on the front porch to clean it, my father found a possum and its child huddled together. I imagine the best time to remove a possum and its child would be when they are relatively calm. Wanting to show us, he let go of the lid, which promptly slammed shut. With possums still inside. On opening the lid again, the child had decided the safest option was going to be behind its mother, who had unfortunately taken a death grip on the grill and backed up as far as she could go.
I think the "If I don't move, they won't see me" defence was also in use as she froze, motionless, likely with her ears still ringing. It was either that, or preparing to launch at her nearest attacker. I feared the latter and backed away.
The baby didn't have the nerve and, after not too long, freaked out and bolted, taking a running leap off the end of the porch*. The mother had to be rolled out of the barbeque as it was obvious the motionless approach was going to be played all the way to the end.
Barbeque cleaned out, fired up and cooking for 30 people in no time. Last I saw, the possums were still holed up under the porch. They're very territorial, and I'm guessing we'll find them back in the barbeque at some stage.
*No possums were harmed in this real-life event. The heroic leap was about 3 feet from porch to a cushioned landing on bark mulch
the earley edition - Posted by Dave @ 8/04/2004 11:09:00 pm || ||