Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Critter Encounter

Seattle has its cougars and bears. I have my possums.

I think I'm going to have to borrow Alan's "armadillo repellant" if they don't stop coming into my yard. I don't think the latest one is the same one as the tree-climbing one from last week. It looks bigger - or maybe it just looks bigger when it's about 2 feet away and showing all its teeth.

Darby started having another barking fit tonight when I let her out, and I could tell from the persistent bark-bark-bark-bark nonstop bark-bark-bark that it was some sort of wild thing. I got a flashlight and was looking in the flower bed by the back door when all of a sudden the light shone on this:

It wasn't in a posing mood, and I wasn't in the mood to frame him up nicely, so this is the best picture I got. If you click and enlarge, you can probably see that open mouth full of needles making awful growly-hissing noises.

Between her barking, the critters growling, and my yelling at Darby to COME IN RIGHT NOW. NOW. COME, etc., we probably woke up the whole neighborhood. I tried to bribe her with cat treats and hit her with the broom and tried to slip a yardstick under her collar, but she was wound up and having fun.

At some point, the possum ran across the yard, and there was silence even though Darby chased it, and I thought that was the end of it. There are gaping holes in the bottom of the gate that it could have gotten out - the same way it came in, I guess, but I don't think possums are known for their intelligence.

So it's still there. Darby is still barking like crazy. The neighbors all hate me. I'm scared to go out there and drag her in because I might get bitten. At least she has her rabies shots. I don't. Surely she can't hold out to bark another hour.


  1. I feel for you. I too have had a possum, but IN MY HOUSE. Several yrs ago when we lived in Fl, David was out of town and his son Greg was living with us in Ryan's old room. In the middle of the night I kept hearing what I thought was our fat cat Jennifer crunching very loudly on dry cat food. Finally when I could stand it no more I got up to shoo her away from the food.I turned on the light and there was no cat there. I DID SEE a long rat like tail wrapped around a box in my pantry. I just couldn't deal with it at that time of night, so I closed the door to the pantry and went back to bed. I could hear him jumping all around trying to get out. I thought about him using his little claws to slide open the door. I ran to Greg's door and yelled :Greg !! Get up, there's a possum in the pantry"!!! It was like a cartoon. He came flying out the door all bleary eyed and half asleep.We looked like the 2 Stooges (Curly and Larry--not the smart one)in our night clothes. Greg had the cat carrier and I the broom, trying to coax him out from behind the freezer. I hoped our neighbors couldn't see this one. Finally after what seemed like a very long time, we were able to get him into the cat carrier. Greg drove him to Home Depot (where else would you take a possum to find a new home)and let him go. MY HERO!!!
    We found the possum had gotten in under one side of the garage door that didn't meet evenly with the garage floor. Moral of the story: Possums love cat food (and probably dog food)and they can flatten themselves out and slide into small spaces.Also, cats (we had 6 at the time)are not good at scaring off critters--they probably just thought I had brought home another ugly cat and they ignored it.I wondered how many times he had crawled in bed with me and I just reached out and petted him thinking he was one of our kitties. YUK. Hopefully, that never happened.
    My advice--drive him to Home Depot.

  2. OH MY GOODNESS. You make my adventure sound mild! I love the "not being able to deal with it" attitude. I totally had that last night. I worried about it biting Darby, but to get her inside would risk MY getting attacked, and the dog was the one lunging at her. At one point, Darby picked up the possum and gently carried it across the yard and put it down. I guess gently - looked that way. I guess she wanted more excitement. I assume she got bored with the chase and let it go. Or maybe they became friends with all that hissing and barking.

    I can't believe it was in your house. Scar-y!

    There's not usually any dog food left at night outside, but maybe it smelled it? That's twice now. I'll put it a nice bowl outside the fence if it won't come in any more.

  3. I am surprised you want to borrow the armadillo repellant. If you don't want to wait, go to a sporting goods store. I used the Louisville Slugger, Rocky Colavito model. (Remember, 1964 was my last year of Little League.)

    I suspect the lack of armor on the possum would make one good whack on the head sufficient - took more than that with the late, lamented armadillo.


  4. Thanks for the tip. I guess that broom and yardstick were not serious enough. Besides, I was hitting the dog instead of the critter. I really came to feel sorry for it after it had been barked at for 3 hours and had to stand there and hiss and growl and then be carried to a new spot just to start over. Hopefully if it survived, it will have learned its lesson and spread the word.

    If things get bad in armadillo land again, you can borrow Darby. That way, the whole neighborhood will know about it.

  5. If that were the case in Guatemala, all the people on my house would bring to the possum a big bowl of milk and dog food, (hoping to see it again, maybe a possible pet). That happen when you live near of the mother nature, or like my old friends use to say: "In the jungle". We love the wild critters. Do I told you we had a chimpmunk and it sleeps on Dinas's bed?
    Love Gaby

  6. You make me laugh, Gaby. Do you have possums in Guatemala? I don't think they're very lovable. Now a chipmunk I can understand - if the cats don't catch it first. How about armadillos? Nothing lovable about them either, except I guess to each other. They also destroy your lawn, which is why Alan's violence was unleashed. Don't even ask him or Roy about squirrels.

  7. Possums? How many dozens do you want? We have wild life for export... hahahaha (kidding, it is not good to have wild life like pets, cosa muy mala, bad thing)
    My granny use to collect: Turtles, any kind of fish, parrots, gooses, ducks, dogs, chikens, turkeys, a white nosed coati...I can go on for a while, and so many others than just appear in the yard.

  8. Gabriela: Dina has slept with a chipmunk before? Is this true? Somehow I can believe this, but it could be dangerous for the chipmunk. Has Dina ever slept with a white nosed coati? I would really like to know the answer to this.