Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Pet Possum

Liberality wrote such a great comment for the raccoon story that I thought I would related this possum tale. And Becca, I did in fact take this photo.

One of the many places that I lived at in California had a sliding glass door that led out into a fenced patio with a cement floor. It was about the size of a pack of matches. I can't imagine why anyone would go to all of the trouble to make such a small patio in the first place, but there it was.

I had two feral cats that I got from my ex-girlfriend, and I thought it would be a great idea to keep the sliding glass door open just enough for them to come and go. I cut a board to keep the door from opening any further than about eight inches, and also put in a kind of hasp that blocked the door also. The fence around the patio was like six feet tall, so I didn't figure anybody could get in without some degree of effort.

This worked out fine for a while, the cats could come an go as they pleased. One night I was in bed reading, and I looked up and there was this baby possum awkwardly shuffling his way across the living room. He stopped and stood stock still for a moment, like he knew I was watching him.

I didn't move or a make a sound, and he began again to waddle towards the kitchen and proceeded to eat the dry cat food! I was kind of shocked, but I didn't stop him because he was cute and kind of dorky looking. Then he left.

This went went on for while, this possum coming in every other night or so to eat, and then leaving. The cats didn't seem to have any problem with him, they would just sort of watch him go by as he walked in. Eventually he started hanging out. He would sit in the corner, or walk around look at things. Eventually I was able to pet him! he was very friendly.

The cats used to like to sit on the fence that went around the tiny patio and watch the world go by. I would come home and they would be up on the top of the fence staring at me. Several times the possum would be up there too! I think he wanted to be a cat.

He kept getting bigger and bigger very quickly. He reached a point where it was hard for him to get in the door, he would have squeeze his way through. He got so big that I think that the cats were a little afraid of him, but I never saw him do any thing mean to them. It was funny when he was big and up on the fence! He looked like he was unsteady and kind of uncomfortable, and his girth hung over each end of the top of the fence. Possums are not built like cats, so I have no idea how he would get up there.

I never really gave him a name or anything. He was just this frequent visitor. Possums seem really funny looking, but when you see them up close they are even funnier looking than you thought! Their eyes and their nostril look like something from outer space. And those teeth! They kind of have some drooling issues as well.

I had to move when they decided to renovate the apartments so that they could jack up the rent, so after I moved I never saw my possum again.

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At Mon Jun 25, 11:38:00 AM, Blogger Kelly the dog said...

Nice story. I wonder what happened to it?

At Mon Jun 25, 01:16:00 PM, Blogger angry ballerina said...

Why does it look dead?

At Mon Jun 25, 01:32:00 PM, Blogger DCup said...

There's definitely tender heart beating in that simian chest.

At Mon Jun 25, 01:43:00 PM, Blogger Jess Wundrun said...

Did Kurt Russell or Kevin Corcoran play you in the Disney version of your movie?

At Mon Jun 25, 02:14:00 PM, Blogger Liberality said...

what a cute fella!

At Mon Jun 25, 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Opposums are kind of gruesome looking, but all of God's creatures deserve a right to live.

Except earwigs *shudder*

At Mon Jun 25, 04:17:00 PM, Anonymous Tengrain said...

Dr. Z -

My noble hound, Thurber J Wolf, one cornered a posseum that had somehow managed to find its way into Tengrain's Little Hutt.

It was a moment of pure bravado, remembered long in song and story. Of course it happened in the middle of the night, the Posseum played dead, and Thurber was an insufferable braggart until he forgot about it. It made up for the lost battles with the squirrels.

In the meanwhile, I had to scoop up said creature into a box and take it outside. Sly and so ugly they are kinda cute, Posseums are OK with me.



At Mon Jun 25, 09:56:00 PM, Anonymous Skycrosser One_Eleven said...

Dr. Zauis,

A wonderous encounter...
if only 'humane'-ity was so consistant with not only one another's well being but the critters whom scurry amongst us.

What, pray tell, would happen if we were to be left only with our own species?

Oh Simian higher...give us a chance to redeem our self-absorbed degree of cleverness...before we are no longer.

At Tue Jun 26, 12:16:00 AM, Blogger Karla said...

That's the first I've heard of a friendly possum, although no doubt there are others. I once found a little possum sleeping inside the heater control unit for the hot tub. It had chewed up all the insulation for a nest. I don't think the hot tub really worked after that... good thing I wasn't that into hot tubs.

At Tue Jun 26, 03:31:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Kelly the dog: I am sure that he went on to do possum related things.

Angry Ballerina: Why does it look dead? Possums and Senator John McCain have one thing in common - it is very difficult to tell if they are actually alive, except when they are moving.

DCup: Indeed I do have a tender heart. I have several tender hearts. They are all on my desk, pickled in jars of formaldehyde.

Jess Wundrun: Only one actor can play Dr. Zaius - Maurice Evans. Dr. Zaius also played Rosemary's friend Hutch in the thriller Rosemary's Baby. All other Zaius actors are but pretenders to the Zaius throne.

Liberality: Yes, he is! thank you!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: I agree about the earwigs. Pinchy little buggers! They scare the bejeesus out of me!

Tengrain: That's a good story! No one will ever make the mistake of calling a possum pretty, brave or smart.

Skycrosser One_Eleven: If only more humans displayed your wisdom, and showed a clear deference to their simian superiors. I am afraid that there will be no redemption for man, however. It is only 1,971 years until the president of the NRA destroys the entire planet Earth. Have a nice day!

Karla: That's a good story! A hot tubbing possum. I am glad that it had the good sense to make a nest for itself out of available materials.

At Wed Jun 27, 03:25:00 PM, Blogger Splotchy said...

Very lovely stories, both about the possum and the raccoon.

How do you feel about reptiles?

At Thu Jun 28, 05:43:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

I like 'em! They are not so cuddly, so they don't make great pets. But they have many fine qualities. I even like bugs!


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