'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Possum in a Trap

For the last five nights I have set the possum trap.  On dusk I lift the heavy sliding door up, slip the metal bar underneath it just a smidgeon, throw a slice of apple at the back behind the trip plate, and two smaller pieces just inside, and go inside my studio to continue painting, and later to bed.

Up until last night I had caught three blackbirds.  But no possum.

Last evening at about 10, long after dark, there was the usual sudden crash on the roof of the studio (luckily I wasn't in the middle of a fiddly bit) but when I went outside to have a talk to the brush-tailed offender, it wasn't interested in talk at all, leaving me only a glimpse of a tail as it raced over the hip of the roof.  Which seemed a bit odd, given it was incredibly bold before...

This morning at dawn (5 bloody 30) the usual shuffling and scufflings above my head in the ceiling told me that once again I'd not caught my nocturnally active guest.

So it was with great surprise that when I padded out in my dressing gown to release the usual captive bird, I found a very agitated and quite young other possum therein.

It was so scared I took pity on it and covered it with an old bedspread.  Later when the pest man was up, I took it up the hill to his house.  His two huge dogs will get a free feed tonight...

Brush-tailed possum - unwanted, but so appealing.

Meanwhile my house guest still poses a problem.  I suspect it was he that sprung the trap the first night, and now knows to steer clear of it.  He's not stupid.  What worries me a bit, is that this morning he seemed to be having an argument with someone up there - a few growls and a muffled screechy yowl or two.  Do possums talk to themselves?

And anyway, doesn't he know that 'after three days visitors and fish both go off'*?

* Old Chinese proverb.


  1. You really do have a problem Katherine. Rather as Lady Bracknell might have said "To have one possum is misfortune but to have two (or perhaps more) is a downright disaster". Actually Lady B had probably never heard of a possum but wotthehellarchiewotthehell.

  2. They are such noisy visitors - I hate it.. they used to slide down our steep roof in Queenstown. I hope you sort it quickly!

  3. Will he really feed it to the dogs? Can't he release it where it'll do no harm?

  4. I looked up possum to get an idea of its size, as we don't have them here. Big help that was. "Possums are quadrupedal diprotodont marsupials" - er, yeah, right... The smallest 10g, the biggest 7 kg. Okay. Now I'm much wiser...!

    Good luck to you anyway in getting rid of your unwelcome visitor...

  5. Yes Geeb, I think there may be two in the roof. Another conversation this morning :-)

    Fi - I actually don't mind the noise, just the timing!

    Cro - There is no-where in New Zealand where possums do no harm. They have no natural enemies here. If you are interested: http://www.kcc.org.nz/possums

    Monica - they are about the size of a cat. But they are born very underdeveloped and 'attach' themselves to a nipple in the pouch. Almost all female possums have young of different stages in the pouch.

  6. Katherine I have just come to you from my brother's blog (Cro).

    Although I live in Whangarei I have a problem with possums and must get around to setting my Timms trap.

    My step daughter who now lives in N.S.W. sent some photos recently of a possum in one of their trees. She was so thrilled - I said the only good possum is a dead possum.

  7. Welcome to TLVD Susan!
    Yes, coming off a farm, and now being actively involved in the conservation and birding spheres, I've heard that expression many times.
    Never really had any conflict until my 'up close and personal' experiences with this one in my roof. Poor persecuted things. But they still have to go.
    I think I'll be borrowing a Timms too, if this cage doesn't get this one(s). I'm not really looking forward to it. The problem for me is the last sentence in the linked article below. How do YOU do it?


  8. Oh dear I just visited your link and I see what you mean. That would be enough for me I'm afraid. No way I'd be doing it no matter what damage the darn things do. .. but then I couldn't dispatch them anyway and feed them to the dogs either. I'm a real squeemish city girl who doesn't want to see how and when her meat gets to the table either!

  9. Ditto... to a degree Helsie. I used to be much bolder when I was on the farm, but I've got out of the habit now I'm a townie...
    Thanks for your input.

  10. Hurrah! Kill the possum! Cut his throat! Kill the possum! Cut his throat!

  11. Hi
    My son lives in Whangarei and will happily come and eradicate your possums for you.
    He has just started a business " POSSUMS TO GO "
    just let me know if you want him to come up

  12. hi I can come and sort your problem for you
    just ask I just started a possum trapping business and would love to help you
    zak ( aged 10)

  13. Thank you, belatedly, for your support, YP.

    Zak and Zak's mother Andrea: Thank you also for your offer. Generally I enjoy encouraging young entrepreneurs, however in this case I suspect the 360 km / 5 hour journey may be too far to come and not worth your while financially...

    1. Haha
      true...lol..but if we are ever passing!!