Saturday, August 13, 2011


My reluctant role as neighborhood animal serial killer was  in play again this morning. You may recall the rabid—or seemingly so—raccoon in the backyard. Then there was the mortally injured stray cat at the end of the street. Today , while on my morning walk, I happen upon an opossum, also in the middle of the street. It was lying on its side and I naturally assumed it was dead. Not the case. As I approached, it got to its feet but instead of running off, stood there and looked at me. I did a walk around and checked for damage but the only sign of harm was what looked to be bloody saliva around the mouth. A neighbor came out and said the thing had been lying there for at least an hour. Got to be internal injury I think and judging from its near comatose state, probably not survivable. Once again, I felt that a quick death would be the merciful thing to do.

Now I’m not about to pick up an injured wild animal and tote it to the woods; not smart. I return to the humble abode for gloves, a live trap, and the shotgun. Back at the scene, I open the door to the live trap and give the poor critter a gentle nudge toward the opening but he/she is having none of it and gives me a look like, “You touch me one more time and you’ll be working with nine fingers or less.” So there we are, in the middle of the street, at a standoff, each waiting for the other to make a wrong move.

I decide on an action where I slide the trap in as close as possible and in one quick move, give the possum a boost on the butt and tip the trap vertical, allowing the door to slam shut. It worked and all my ten digits were still attached. We take a short drive to the back of a dead end street where several acres of woods begin. I open the trap, expected a hasty retreat. Didn’t happen. I upend the trap with open part down and try to shake it out of there. Nope, not leaving; the wires firmly in the grasp of all four feet and tail. Hmmm. Did it sense where this was going?

I found a small stick and used it as a prod through the wire mesh and eventually the opossum came out. A couple minutes later, the possum hurt no more.

So why do I not feel good about this?

(photo not the actual possum in today's blog)

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