Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Possum Post 11: The Nightmare Continues

I was going to write an awesome post about the creative process this week, but I can't. I can't, because I am being psychologically tortured by possums. Oh yes, they're back.

I thought we were past this. I thought I’d evicted them and they were happy to stay evicted. We’d reached an understanding. As long as I agreed to leave bread outside on the bins every night, the possums agreed not to break into my house and help themselves.

A possum, aka thieving little bastard. 
Cyclone Yasi has changed that. The possums can’t get around like they did. They used to go from my neighbours’ fence to my carport, through the traveller’s palm, across my roof, into my tree, onto my other fence, and then, presumably, cavort drunkenly through the entire neighbourhood until dawn. Now, because my tree was one of the casualties of the cyclone, the possums make it as far as my roof and can’t get any further. So they stand on my roof and vent their frustration by screaming at the remains of the tree, the universe, and whatever freakish pagan god they believe is their guardian. This can happen anywhere between 9pm and 5am, and I’ve learned it is impossible to sleep with a screaming possum fifteen feet above your head.

A typical Townsville Street, post-Yasi. 
The possums are now raiding my recycling. I wouldn’t mind so much, except they are raiding it messily, noisily, and in the middle of the night. I’m getting sick of having to pick it up every morning. And really, the last thing the possums need is to get a caffeine buzz from snuffling around an empty Pepsi Max bottle. They’re strung highly enough as it is.

Did you know possums can open kitchen cupboards? I am so, so tired of having to hide my bread and bananas in the microwave. I am even more tired of wiping grubby possum footprints off my bench every morning. And it doesn't matter if I close my windows or not - they are squeezing through the wooden shutters. 

And the worst part is, I’m less worried about their criminality than I am about their welfare. A diet of white bread and the occasional stolen banana can’t be healthy for a native animal. Maybe if I set up a proper possum feeding post for them, they’ll stop standing on my roof and screaming. God. I can already tell how this is going to end. Check back in six months and they’ll be curled up on my couch watching TV. All twenty-seven of them. 


  1. Maybe you can make like a Disney princess and train them to do your tasks for you. Perhaps if you sing to them they'll start tidying up around the house? ;) (PS Sending sympathy, sounds like a nightmare)

  2. Thanks, Girl Friday!

    I talk a big game, but the truth is they're just so damn cute that I just know I can't do anything really nasty to them! I am liking the idea of making them do housework while I sing a pretty song and twirl around!

  3. Oh man, I now know what scary-cute is. It's kind of creepy. There's a possum around here where I live. I try not to pay attention to him. Since I have a dog, vet says they carry lots of fleas. He hasn't knocked on my door yet.

  4. Whoa. I knew you had a feud with these guys, but hadn’t read back yet for the details.

    Never having seen one, I did an image search and discovered they look like a mouse mated with a kangaroo. Would that about sum it up? I mean, if one added the part about screaming to pagan gods?

  5. Holy Toledo! I had the unfortunate experience of finding a dead one in the garage once but you have my sympathy. Have you tried calling animal control to let them set traps and relocate these guys?

  6. Alice, mine don't knock on my door either! They just come on in...

  7. MC,

    Yep, the unholy union between a mouse and a kangaroo would be about right. They are actually quite cute,I just don't like sharing my house with them! And I don't really want to call it a feud yet...because I know they're winning, and I'd be embarrassed to lose a feud with a dumb animal.

  8. SM,

    Unfortunately animal control can't help, since they're a native animal and they're no longer living under my roof, just visiting. Also, if you trap them you can only release them fifty metres from your house, which seems kind of pointless. I mean even if I swung them around for a while to make them dizzy they'd still find their way back. Also, that might be classed as animal cruelty! Sadly, I think I'm stuck with them. But at least Australian possums don't look as scary and rat-like as American possums! Those things are freaky...

  9. That sounds horrible! (I have a thing against any animal that looks even slightly like a rat.) They open your cupboards? Ahhh!! And footprints! Seriously, I think I'd have a heart attack. It seems like you're at least handling it better than I would be. I mean, you're still living there and haven't torched the place. :)

  10. Tracey,
    They can open cupboards, and squeeze through shutters. They can even peel back the tin on a roof to get into the ceiling. They're nature's greatest triumph - strong, clever, dextrous little monsters! I think my only chance is to domesticate them!

  11. Oh, yes, American possums are hideous and terrifying! If we had li'l cuties like yours, I'd want to snuggle them up. Until they started screaming to pagan gods all over the place. Taylor Swift just got laid out to filth by the Australian peeps for feeding possums, because it would tame them and make them vulnerable to mean people.

    Here's a link to an article about what to feed a pet possum:

    You are so sweet! Your possums are lucky. :)

    Marian Allen

  12. Thanks, Marian! I will check it out. I feel quite sorry for them because they're obviously having problems finding their own food since the cyclone. Normally I wouldn't advocate feeding wild animals, but surely it's better than letting them starve?

    And Australian possums are very cute...I think it's an evolutionary defence. However much I want to hate them, I can't help going "awww!" instead.

  13. A rat is a rat is a rat. They are dangerous to family and home. Can't the pros help you with this?
    I get scared just reading this.

  14. Hi Mary!

    They're a protected native species here in Australia, and since they technically live outside there's not much I can do...I'm hoping when my cyclone-damaged fence is repaired and my dog comes home she can scare them away, because they're obviously not frightened of me!



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