Other Stuff

Return of the possum

Real Live Preacher had raccoons. Some people would think raccoons are cute, although RLP’s experience, and our experiences camping around raccoons would lower their cute factor. RLP has a good series of stories about them, for what it’s worth. Possums, on the other hand, are ugly, nasty creatures that nobody except possibly another possum would find at all cute. And possums are what life has chosen to throw my way.

It started lasy year. I’m sure the construction of several new subdivisions nearby had something to do with it. But I don’t understand why the possums pass up houses all around me, yards they have to cross, to end up in my yard, inside my fence. Biltmore goes absolutely berserk when he finds one. He’s only 14 pounds, not much bigger if at all, but he’s a vengeful beast when his yard is violated by a cat, or a possum. It happened four times last summer and fall, then stopped. I figured maybe the invasion was over. But I got suspicious a couple of weeks ago when my daughter said Biltmore had killed a big rat – but she couldn’t produce a body. Biltmore only knows one way to attack. I’ve seen him get rats – he’ll work them and work them, dashing in from behind and the side until he gets a shot at the back of the neck. When he does, he grabs the neck and snaps it, killing the rat pretty much instantly. It’s actually pretty fascinating. But when you try this on a 10-pound possum, it’s not so successful, since he generally can’t snap them around the way he does a rat. So we end up with a battle royal for a while, until he gets enough of a grip to trigger the possum’s one defense mechanism, the famous “play dead” maneuver. On Biltmore, this works perfectly, because once he thinks his foe is dead, he’s finished with it. No playing with the corpse like a cat or a lab would do. He just walks off. Then I move in with a shovel and garbage can, scooping the possum and driving it down the road.

As I said, I thought maybe the invasion was over. Until tonight, when I realized that the furious barking I heard outside was coming from my back yard. I went out to find, indeed, another possum, with 14 pounds of fury darting all around it. It kept up for another 10 minutes before the possum went limp. So at 10:00, I was scooping a possum into a garbage can and going for a ride. Not my idea of Friday night excitement.

(Submitted for Beltway Traffic Jam)