Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Possum Came A-Knockin'

Except he didn't knock.

I opened the front door one dark evening last week to check on Scrappy cat. The front porch light wasn't working and I caught a suggestion of movement in the blackness. I decided whatever it was had hid in the hedge.  I had just turned back toward the living room when the commotion started.

"Oh my God, what is that thing?" my teen aged son yelled. And there, in my living room, was an adolescent opossum. He was slowly but steadily crossing through the room, moving very stiffly and rotating his head from side to side. He looked terrified. If possums could talk I'm pretty sure this one would be saying "Oh my God! Where am I?" Meanwhile, my son helpfully pulls his legs up into the rocker he's sitting in.

I called my husband, grabbed a handy cat carrier, and began running after Possum.

"Relax, they're harmless." My husband offers up from the next room. "They don't bite and they don't carry rabies or disease."

Harmless or not the possum was going to reach my floor loom if he continued on his present course. I was pretty sure that even non-biting disease-free possums are hard to extricate from beneath the treadles, harnesses, and beam of a loom. They do climb. And what's with that tail?

Possum crept steadily on through the living room, dining room, and into the weaving room, right up to the loom. Then he turned left and conveniently cornered himself by the door going out to the garage. I thought briefly about letting Possum go into the garage--there is a cat door to the outside--but I was afraid he would want to move in.  We already have one teenager.

Hubby, who was still repeating "they're harmless; I saw it on TV," helped me gently sweep the possum into the cat carrier. Possum used all four feet and his tail to try and keep out of the cage, but eventually he saw the dark. (I covered the cage with a towel.) Did you know possums emit a foul I've-been-dead-for-three-days odor when frightened? Thank goodness removing the possum removed the stench. We left the cage, door open, in the yard.

Thirty minutes later he was still there, motionless and playing dead. This probably works well with animals, who don't seem to notice things that aren't moving. It doesn't work so well on humans.  His big black unblinking eyes looking up at me through the vents on the cage kind of gave him away. I felt sorry for him, but not so much that I wanted to invite him back in.

opossum 2

This picture is from several years ago when I opened the front door and a different possum panicked and ran into the dog house.)

PS: "Possum Come A-Knockin'" is a very good read-aloud book by Nancy Van Laan.  Back in the day I used to read it to my son. I love this book.


The Beading Gem said...

I enjoyed reading this possum story. Laughed at the part where you said, you already had a teenager!

Leslie Todd said...

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. My family says I have no sense of humor but every once in a while I find one, LOL.

ziggy stardust said...

thanks leslie for visiting. I really enjoyed your blog!

Leslie Todd said...

Thanks Ziggy!