Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Facing down the Wild O'Possum

I had a scare this morning. Before 7 a.m., too. And fortunately before my husband left for work. I had gone up the hill just before 6 a.m. to let out and feed my chickens. I noticed last night that a hen stayed on one of the nests, so I thought I'd open the outside door to that nest to drive her off. I just don't want to deal with a broody hen. So, about forty minutes or so later, my chickens started making a horrible racket. Clucking, crowing, cackling--general chicken-calling-for-help noises. I thought at first that hen was upset with that open door to her nest, but the racket kept on. So, I told my husband that I'd brave that aggressive red rooster and go up there to see. Well, I had no more stepped through the gate when I saw a HUGE 'possum staring at me just about ten yards up the path. Okayyyy. I yelled for my knight, held my walking stick ready, and backed out of there. My knight came running with his stick and held off that possum while I checked on the chickens and that hen in the nest. (She had left it, so I closed the door.) Now, possums are dumb creatures, and it was obvious from the first glance that we were not dealing with a rabid animal, so it took a bit for this dumb creature to get the idea that he wasn't wanted. My knight kept after that possum and herded him away from the chickens. He never did run, just lumbered. Finally, he squeezed himself through the fence and disappeared.

I'd rather face a possum than a raccoon, because raccoons are really small bears and just as dangerous; and there's more of a possibility of rabies in a coon than a possum, too. But this early in the morning!! More than an hour after full daylight!! We're not in a drought, and I know there must be plenty of game around for that possum, but he was right up there getting in my chickens' grain. He was big, too. Maybe he was old and had bad teeth. Who knows. I guess I won't be so complacent from now on and go up there with just my walking stick. I'll take the extra few seconds to bring along a stronger "friend" at my side.

{Shudder} I hate having to face a wild animal. Gives me the shakes, but at least I've learned what's really a dangerous situation up on my hill and what's not. I've noticed for the past week or so that something has been getting into my storage shed up there and moving aside a heavy cement block to get into the metal garbage cans where I store the grain. I get good grain for my birds, not just that cracked corn scratch that's really "dead food." Right now I have one can of black sunflower seeds and the other can with a nine-grain mixture--no cracked, dead grains. I guess that's pretty attractive to coons and possums, but I feed my chickens as well as I can because I want good eggs, and they've scratched their yard up so much over the past eight or nine years, that it's like a desert up there. Not even the poison ivy that used to grow so lushly up there like a carpet has been gone for a few years now, so they need good food.

Life just gets interestinger and interestinger.


Question: Do opossums carry rabies?
Answer: Any mammal can get rabies. However, the chance of rabies in an opossum is EXTREMELY RARE. This may have something to do with the opossum’s low body temperature (94-97ยบ F) making it difficult for the virus to survive in an opossum’s body.


  1. Yikes!

    I feel the same way. Although, it's been a while since I've been in a setting where I would have to deal with wild critters.

    Stay safe.

  2. Wow! Wow! Wow! You are brave...I would have turned tail and ran like a bat out of you-know-where! A knight came to the rescue. That is just too romantic. Shall we name him Bedivere?!

    Your hubby not the possum!

  3. When the children were really little (Dear Son #1 5, Darling Daughter 3, Dear Son #2 about 8 months) we moved into my mother and grandmother's house. We stayed there for about 3 years. Anyway, shortly after we moved in, Darling Daughter came in to talk to me while I was doing something - unpacking? And said, "Mommie! Dere's somefing unna the table on the porch - I fink it's a fider or sumfin!" So I said, "O really?" She replied, "Yes - an it's really big!" "OK, honey, show me," sez I. "Aw rite!" she said.

    We went onto the back porch (really just a little tiny entrance way into the kitchen). There was a box under a small, sturdy table. Darling daughter went over and stuck her baby hand into the box and said, "Ri' dere!"

    And a huge opossum opened it's mouth WIDE (all those teeth!) and hissed at us!!

    I ran and got the XH. He came out and turned the box over. I wanted him to kill it, but he said, "I can't kill it, it has little hands!" So he "relocated" it. I would have been just as happy to have possum stew...

    Now, I knew and I know that opossums are generally placid, and go into fear-induced comas and all that, but when your precious 3 year old daughter almost sticks her hand in the possum's mouth, you go into a "fight or flight" Mother-Tiger state and want to attack and kill anything that threatens her! And I still think I could have made a tasty possum stew out of it. ;-)