Published: Jan 15, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 15, 2013 04:54 PM
Someone had invaded our garage.
I made the discovery early one morning as I was bringing our daughter Julia to school. The once a year, quite perfect, tissue wrapped Skipsations pears were gone. An entire crate lay overturned on the garage floor. Slippery remains were strewn next to my car, along with the crumpled bits of green paper that had cradled each perfect pear.
I knew it was an opossum.
How had it happened? The garage door was always shut. I searched the garage for the means of access. No holes in the foundation, no windows left open.
Ah, of course, it was obvious; I had gone out briefly the night before to pick up Julia from the MMS production of a Christmas Carol. I had made the ten-minute trip to the school and left the garage door open, knowing that I would be returning quickly. In that short span of time, Possum had wandered into the garage, and hidden herself from view. I had shut the door immediately upon returning, which meant that the thief was still on the premises. It didnt take long to find her.
Tucked beneath the stairs to the kitchen, I discovered her. She was huddled low, and staring balefully into the beam of my flashlight. She had to leave. She would not walk out the open door. An opossum is far too timid to make a break into the open daylight.
Honestly, opossums are not intelligent creatures. They simply follow their noses to food, and pay little attention to possible dangers. They are known for toddling into peoples houses in their oblivious way, searching out the source of some pleasant smell. When you confront them, they freeze in horror, and then sometimes open their mouths to reveal their fifty teeth, in some meaningless gesture of ferocity. They are gentle souls, without malice, and only want to eat a tasty meal, and then retire to a cozy, dark crevice for sleep. My garage could not become possums home base.
I gathered my equipment, which consisted of a net and a cat carrier, and readied myself for the capture. I looked into the opossums eyes, and saw her fear. If this had been a raccoon, I would have been more careful. A raccoon is all business and very fierce. This poor girl just wanted to sleep off her meal. Sadly, this could not happen.
Net in hand, I made a scoop, and almost had the girl, but she turned quickly, and climbed out. The chase was on.
She ran between bicycles, under the car, behind the bookcase, and back behind the kayak. The garage door was wide open, but the opossum was in no mood to leave a place with so many tempting crannies.
As I moved tools and bikes, I saw the extent of her damage. Imagine the digestive results that occur when a five-pound animal eats an entire crate of fruit.
Finally, Opossum tucked herself into a corner behind a gas canister. She never showed her teeth, or made an attempt to bite. I somehow netted the front half, and grabbed the base of her tail with my free hand, and then herded her towards the open cat carrier. The dark carrier was very appealing to the opossum. She ran straight in, and I shut the door.
I was very pleased to bring the carrier back to her woods. She would be safe, and she was unharmed. I opened the latch to the crate and she bolted straight towards a tree in the woods, and started to climb. The run of an opossum is plantigrade, or flat-footed, just like a human. It is a stable gait, but not nearly as fast as a cat, and not nearly as elegant. She was much more comfortable in her tree, where she could use her little thumb equipped hind feet to grasp the branches securely. Up and up she went, and with each step she relaxed a bit more.
I returned to the garage to begin the clean- up. I looked around, surveying the damage. Alas, not one pear was left intact. They were so ripe
and so delicious!