Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Possums Don't Play Dead

We use to have cats, Havoc and Pandora. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they had to be moved outside to live. We adjusted the garage door so that it closed only mostly, allowing the kitties to sleep and eat in the garage. We live on the marsh, and so get lots of critters, especially at night, looking for food. Possums and raccoons are the most plentiful, but the food we put out ends up feeding stray dogs and feral cats too.

Possums are ugly, nasty creatures. When you see photos of them, they are all clean and look like they're smiling. Bah. They are dirty, smelly creatures full of teeth and snarl. But what's funny is that, if you startle them, and I mean really startle them, they faint. Some more than others.

We had what must have been a family of possums visiting us pretty regularly. There were three different ones, and one of them must have been a runt because he was so much smaller than the others. I would regularly catch them eating the food, or climbing into the garbage can, and I'd raise cain at them to scare them off— throwing shoes, etc.

One night the little one was there all alone. I came crashing out of the back door, raising a ruckus, and threw a sandal at him. He keeled right over. I thought I killed him. When I stepped closer, he reeled, then snarled— scaring me to death. I jumped and hollered, and he keeled over again. Ha! He had fainted. Well, this was great fun!

I waited for him to come-to and start for the door and then I banged and hollered again, lunging at him. He took a step and keeled over again, poor thing. I did this several more times, edging him closer to the door each time. It took him about 2 minutes to make it out of the door!

From that night on, whenever I caught the little bugger, I would make a racket and he would pass out in the garage. In fact, he fainted so quickly, I had to resort to scooping him up with a shovel and pushing him out of the door— chasing a fainting possum gets old after the first couple of times.

Months later, the poor thing up and died on our driveway. We had had one of our holler and faint sessions the night before, and I had to pitch him out of the garage with the shovel. The next morning, I found him several feet away from where I had pitched him, dead. I have to admit that as much as I despised the beast, and wanted him to leave our cat food alone, I felt sorry for him. Clearly he was never well, and I realized that I probably scared the thing to death that last night.


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