Saturday, November 10, 2007

We Caught a Critter!

Last year we had the pleasure of hosting a little possum family in our back yard. We actually discovered them because one early morning, just before 6 am, a baby possum - not much bigger than my fist - bumped into our patio door. Over the next few months we watched a mama and four or five babies as they traipsed through the yard occasionally on the way to their home in a little grove of trees and vines in the corner of the property. They never bothered us, we never bothered them, and even the cats only seemed mildly interested in our new neighbors. Eventually, we stopped seeing them. After doing a bit of research, I learned that possums are gypsies by nature and don't settle in permanent homes, but may return to favorite hang-outs off and on.

A couple of weeks ago we started hearing noises under the house. Rhett looked in the crawl space and couldn't see any animals, but did see a trail of food wrappers leading to the house. We had learned that possums are scavengers and wondered if our little friends had returned. I love those little possums, but I only love them in the yard. Once they start scratching around under my bathtub at 3:00 in the morning and giving me the heebie-jeebies, it's time to move along. Procrastinators that we are, we finally got the (humane) pest control guy called yesterday. He closed off the entry points to the crawl space and set a trap.

He also put some kind of cream filled cake in there, along with some peanut butter crackers, as bait. We woke up this morning and guess what we found...

A possum! Isn't he sweet? We are wondering if he's one of the babies from last year because he seems so small compared to the mama. Notice the empty cake wrapper. In America, even the little forest creatures are junk food junkies! I don't know about you, but when I eat too much sugar, I may feel good for a while, but eventually I crash and get really REALLY cranky...

I guess I'm not the only one! In all actuality, even though he looks like he's snarling at me in this picture, he's just showing me his teeth. Whenever I got close to the cage, he would just calmly open his mouth like he was saying, "See, they're pointy. I could bite you if I really wanted to, you know." Then he would close his mouth again and go back to being cute.

I think I'll name him Harold. He looks like a Harold, don't you think? I wonder where the pest control guy will release him. I honestly don't know if Harold would know how to survive in the wild. This is an urban possum who likes his fast food. I have a feeling if he gets dropped off in the woods, Harold will find his way back to the land of Twinkies and Doritos. Maybe he'll even drop in and say hello. But the Smith Bed and Breakfast for Possums is officially closed, so he'll have to use the campsite in the corner of the yard when he visits.

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