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The possum War

When cute and cuddly meets old and grumpy

By D-DonohoePublished 2 years ago 7 min read
3
The eyes of a murderous foe

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

I thought I knew myself, but I didn’t. I didn’t know how far I would be prepared to go. I did not know my enemy, I severely underestimated them and that is how this war was fought.

First contact

We had been in the house for about a month when I went to the garage. I was looking for a hammer to put up a picture. As I went through my toolbox, I heard a sound coming from above me, I looked up and jumped back in fright as I realised there were two pairs of eyes looking down at me.

As I regained my composure grateful that no other humans had witnessed my very unmanly shriek, I saw that it was a mother and baby brush-tailed possum. They both looked very cute perched there on a high shelf. Obviously, they had thought this was an excellent place to make their home.

I went to get my wife and showed her the other family that had decided to make our garage their home. We fed them some pieces of apple as a housewarming present and knew that we should be able to cohabitate easily. I mean after all; it was just a mommy and baby possum.

The baby looks as cute as a button

Disputed Territory

Weeks went on and our tenants didn’t engage with us much at all. If I got home late from work, they would just be heading out on their nightly stroll. The baby clung to her mom tightly as she traversed the garage, along the side of the house and up into a tree. They seemed happy and as I said, there was no real engagement with us so that was fine.

Then one Sunday I went looking for some books that I had left in a cardboard box in the garage. I picked up the box and moved it to the bench. It felt like the contents were shifting inside, and when I opened the box, I again jumped back with the same level of masculinity I had displayed in the past. There was the possum family looking up at me, apparently, this was where they had decided to sleep during the day. I couldn’t allow that because there was already fur on some of the books, plus what if the baby had an accident and my books ended up smelling like pee?

I put the box on the floor and gently coaxed the pair out of the box. It eventually required some more apples but eventually, they moved out of the box and scampered back up to the high shelf. All seemed right again.

A declaration of War

It was a Saturday morning and I needed to mow the yard, so I went to get the lawnmower out of the garage. As I opened the door I was overcome by the sight and the smell that awaited me. Firstly, the petrol tin had been knocked off its shelf, the lid coming off had left a puddle of petrol all over the floor. Other items had been knocked off shelves too, but that wasn’t the worst of it.

The ground was covered with all these little pellets. In Shape and size, they looked like chocolate-coated licorice bullets, but they were not something that I would be putting in my mouth. I soon noticed that on some of our plastic containers and cardboard boxes there was also a stain, as I got closer it certainly overtook the smell of the petrol. That was possum pee, they’d decided they were going to take over completely, well now it was time to fight back.

I would much prefer to find these on my garage floor

I rang a friend to borrow their possum trap. I got some bread and jam and placed it inside later that night I came back to the garage, there was the mother and baby possum trapped like, well, possums in a trap. I took them for a drive, a long drive. I found a nice spot with lots of trees and let them loose. Farewell, my former tenants, I hope your next abode is more accommodating.

I drove home feeling victorious. The next day we took out all the boxes, wiped off those containers that weren’t ruined by the wee, swept up all the little nuggets, and returned to being a single occupancy once more.

Stupid possum, no match for a human.

The Christmas tree Offensive

The next weekend was the start of December. I went out to the garage, to get our Christmas tree and decorations to put up (In Australia real trees can’t stand the heat of our Christmas in Summer). I was greeted by a sight that struck me with fear.

Two more boxes had been pushed from the shelves as if someone knew, they contained Christmas baubles and tinsel. I couldn’t understand maybe someone had broken in and was looking for a specific decoration. As I got closer it was apparent that several of our more fragile ornaments had smashed. It still couldn’t be the possum family because I, a human, had caught them and moved them along.

I went to get down the big plastic box with the Christmas tree in it, and as I lifted it above me a small amount of fluid ran from the box onto my head. I think the smell hit me before the fluid did, and I knew exactly what it was. As I placed the tree box on the ground, I saw that familiar brownish-yellow fluid. That was possum wee.

After racing through the house like a madman to wash my head, I used my wife’s shampoo to cover the smell in my hair (and because I wanted extra volume and to make my hair bouncier). Then I returned and started to move more boxes. There was wee and poo everywhere. Eventually, I moved another box and there was the culprit, a possum.

Now you may at this point be saying, “Oh, was it the original possum that you relocated?”, no it was not. “How do you know?” I hear you asking in response. Well, let’s put it this way, this possum had the largest pair of testicles I have seen on any animal in a long time, this was not a mommy possum.

I still had the trap, so I set it again. Within the hour I heard a noise and went out to find Mr. Big Balls Possum in the trap. He too went for a long drive and was released.

Looking like he is contemplating a jailbreak

Over the next week, four more furry critters were caught and relocated. Had I been operating a possum breeding colony?

It seemed I needed to understand my enemy better. So, I began my research. It turns out that when a space opens, a new possum will move in to take over that territory. I needed to remove their ease of access to the battleground.

A crushing Defeat

The hardware store became my armorer. I gained sufficient armaments to fight this battle properly. There was netting, there were boards, nail guns, screws, and a cordless drill (Ok I had wanted a new cordless drill for a while so this was my opportunity to justify that purchase). I spent the day sawing, hammering, checking, and re-checking. I had removed their element of surprise; they would not be entering again.

Two days later, a box had been knocked over in the night. The day after that those pellets of poo started appearing on the ground. Then late at night, the sounds of possums fighting got too much to bear. I went to the garage to berate them, when I stood in a freshly deposited nugget, slipping over, and landing in a warm puddle.

I was injured and I had been humiliated. This enemy was good, had they bested me? I would not go down without a fight.

To the victor goes the Spoils

It was time to change tact. Or rather it was time to take on the scorched earth approach. But then my wife intervened and refused to let me burn down the garage.

So, it was back to possum-proofing. What were the vulnerabilities in my previous defenses? Ok, I will harden them. How can I make sure they can’t get in? Ok less netting, more solid material. Double up on the timber. Triple up if you must.

The hardware store folk became invested. “What are you going to do now?”, one of the attendants asked. I told him, “I’m going to stop them or I’m going to die trying”. With a knowing nod, he wished me good luck.

My defenses complete I afforded them one last chance for a gracious defeat. I knew that they couldn’t get out through their previous egress points, so I left the door open. Next to the door, I left the trap with the bread and jam inside. They could choose unconditional freedom or be interned and transported to a new location. When I went to bed the trap was empty, so I closed the door to the garage.

The next morning, the trap was still empty. I couldn’t see any of my foes inside, nor any of their excrement calling cards. I did, however, see that my car parked out on the street had been covered with possum poo. Perhaps their last shot in this war.

Two weeks now, no contact, no sign of them. Have I won? Or are they re-grouping and preparing one last onslaught?

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Embarrassment
3

About the Creator

D-Donohoe

Amateur storyteller, LEGO fanatic, leader, ex-Detective and human. All sorts of stories: some funny, some sad, some a little risqué all of them told from the heart.

Thank you all for your support.

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Comments (2)

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  • Colleen Millsteed 2 years ago

    Oh dear. I have the same problem D, so I feel your pain. It makes for a great story though.

  • Heather Hubler2 years ago

    Oh goodness, those sneaky little devils!! Glad it seems like you've reclaimed your ground. Well written and fun read, thanks for sharing :)

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