I recently became aware that my home is of vital interest and importance to the Opossum Community of West Redding.
For several weeks I have heard quiet but persistent scratching coming from underneath my home at sunrise and sunset, but no level of investigation revealed the source of the noise. As any local resident is well aware, the temperatures have recently dropped from “everything is on fire” to “suitable for human life” and I have had all the windows open to enjoy the cool breeze. One evening last week I heard a sound coming from the front of the house, and I looked out the window to see a white snout and sleek gray body appear from under the steps and vanish into the fading light.
I don’t know if it’s male or female because it wasn’t wearing gender-specific clothing, but it looked like a guy opossum.
Apparently, the space underneath my front porch is a seductive sanctuary, as my home is free from domestic pets and the cacophony of small humans stomping about. While I cannot fault the opossum’s good taste in my lovely home, I do not want one as a roommate. The scratching and banging sounds seem to have settled into the space behind my bathroom wall and I have horrifying images of it suddenly crashing through the plaster and tile, falling upon me while I’m showering. I do not wish to spend my final moments on earth shrieking and twisting myself up in the shower curtain, covered in shampoo and wild opossum. If the fall doesn’t kill me, surely the shock would.
A couple of days later I heard the monster head out for its shift at the Disgusting Rodent Emporium, and I hurried to block all entrances under my front porch, forcing it to find other living arrangements. I admit I was rather smug about the whole thing, outsmarting a creature with a brain the size of a marble.
At 4 a.m. the next day the Gray Menace returned, crashing into the barrier and trying to claw its way back into my home. I leapt to my feet with a howl, grabbed a flashlight and a mop (I don’t know) and rushed out to the front yard in my boxers. The battle was brief but ferocious, with snarling and snapping on both our parts, and ended with a opossum retreat. Unfortunately he returned 10 minutes later, armed with courage and needle teeth and a determination to breach the front lines. Still wielding my mighty Mop of Fury (but wearing pants this time), I launched myself back into the fight but he stayed out of reach and ran off into the bushes. And then — I swear I am not making this up — I swatted at the bushes with my mop and shouted, “Yeah, keep coming you gross f***er!”
I have lost my mind.
I might add that my neighbors don’t know I’m engaged in a Opossum War because there’s a shrub blocking their view of my porch; they just see my front door suddenly fly open and I emerge in a wild rage with a mop. This is what the Horrible Thing has reduced me to.
He’s still breaking in every day. I even poured a jar of my own pee around my porch, which the internet swore would keep away any animals. It doesn’t. Stinky McGee shows up every morning, claws at my porch, I rush out in a righteous fury, he growls and hisses and disappears and waits for me to leave for work and then lets himself back into my house. It’s like he has his own key, but I know for a fact he’s not paying any rent. I suspect he’s also getting into my liquor cabinet because I refuse to believe I’m consuming that much on my own. He’d better be using a coaster.
And before you start, I don’t want to hear a single word about how opossums are “shy and harmless creatures who eat bugs and pests and heal the forest and grant wishes.” Spare me. This opossum is a jerk, and I won’t abide any kind words about it.
I know this war will end in tears, me standing on my front lawn in a bathrobe, wearing one shoe and dragging a broken mop handle, the opossum in the bushes shaking his head saying “Jeez, dude.”
In my defeat, I will finally do the smart thing and use a humane “live trap”, drive the monster out to the country and release him into the wild, where he can live out his days in search of an equally gross lady opossum and sire a mess of ugly babies and dream about the day he beat The Human in The Underwear.
But until that day comes … this is war.
Phase One of the Great Opossum War of 2017 is over.
After a 48 hour peace, in which the opossum had not been sighted (I was foolishly certain I had driven my foe from my land) the monster returned this morning. However, he was no longer afraid of my mighty Mop of Fury and no manner of swinging or thrashing or threatening gestures would make him back down. I turned to my final line of defense…a big pan of cold water. He didn’t like that AT ALL, and after two dousings he fled into the bushes. But he still busted into my house later.
As many veterans of Animal Battles will understand, I was growing weary of the War and when I came home from work I finally set out a “live trap” to catch this wily creature. I laid out a feast leading to the trap, starting with an amuse-bouche of crackers and peanut butter, followed by a main course of smoked turkey and a side dish of more crackers. I awaited dusk.
I did not have to wait long before the creature emerged from under my porch. Much to my surprise, it was a MUCH LARGER black opossum, followed by the smaller gray one I had been fighting all week. The Giant Gross Dark Queen Opossum of Grossness lumbered her way over to the trap, sniffed delicately at my offering and then ate the leaves on the ground around the trap. I’m not even kidding. She then sauntered off into the dark, probably looking for a gentlemen opossum to seduce. The now cute-by-comparison little one headed straight for the trap and was captured within seconds. I admit, it was adorable seeing it lick the peanut butter off its tiny fingers.
The Prince (Princess?) opossum has been released in the country outside town on my brother’s property where it promptly scaled a tree not a hundred yards from his house. I love my brother but the opossum is his problem now.
However, I cannot rest. I still have to wage the Great Opossum War of 2017 Phase II against the Giant Gross Dark Queen of Opossum Grossness. The first person to point out she probably has other babies under my house gets a pox cast upon them.