I’ve just seen my first possum. Unfortunately my first sighting was of it dangling out of Genghis’ mouth.
He’d been causing a disturbance outside and I’d gone to see what all the fuss was about and quieten him down. Having grabbed the torch I scanned the yard and spotted him being suspicious by the compost heap.
He was carrying what I first took to be Monkey and was making to bury him. Genghis has a thing for burying his toys in the compost. Earlier today I’d had to dig out a new tug toy Bill had bought him at the weekend, while Gingernuts joined me in my search and found a mud covered half chewed bone to resurrect and gnaw on.
Monkey however didn’t look quite right, a little too large and dangly, and I thought I saw two pinpoints of light reflect back at me like cats eyes. Genghis also refused to relinquish his burden and totally ignored me. Bill took over cajoling Genghis to come in, while I shoved some shoes onto my feet and went out to investigate.
When I got over to the heap I was really just expecting to find Monkey, and certainly would never have imagined the strange creature with a gummy smile and sharp pointy teeth that I found. I’d never seen a possum before and only really knew what it was by matching it with the lovely natural history illustration Bill has on his back! By torchlight I could make out a shock of quite amazing long textured grey hair sticking out at all angles like a goth girl’s fake fur coat, with a long thick naked banded ratty tail curling up behind it. It’s face held a curled grimace and as I looked down I had the horrible impression that it was still breathing.
Possums are a lot bigger than I realised, and Bill says that the one Genghis caught was a fairly small one. I now understand why one wouldn’t want a family of them living in one’s crawl space.
I was quite astounded and called Bill over. When he realised what I was looking at he made me stand much further away in case it wasn’t actually dead, but in fact cunningly playing possum. Apparently they are very vicious and terribly adept at pretending to be dead while only waiting for the opportunity to retaliate.
Deciding to leave the possum alone for a while just in case, we locked the doggy door and left the yard in quiet darkness.
Back inside Genghis got a very good check up and thankfully he seems intact. Having seen the teeth on that beast I was quite worried.
It’s now several hours later and we now know that the Gengis did indeed strike a killing blow. I thought we ought to clear the yard before bedtime so we don’t have to deal with it in our PJs when the doggys need to go out in the morning. Possum is most certainly no longer and Bill has disposed of it by loading it onto a shovel unceremoniously chucking it over the back fence where I think it landed in a tree. Sorry, wasn’t very nice but it was a bit hard to do anything more gracious when it was so dark and we were both rather nervous about going anywhere near it.
Oh, and Bill told me that they carry rabies, but I’ve just googled and found that to possibly be a fallacy. According to Google they have a naturally high immunity to disease and are resistant to rabies. However, I also found some sites that declare possums to be pestilent carriers of parasites and rabies so now I’m confused. Either way I’m not going near one.
Going to bed now.