A Tail of a Possum

A Tail of a Possum

We woke this morning to find a new layer on top of the old.  Scientists speak of “heavy water;” we had what I would call “heavy snow.”  My snow blower was reluctant to deal with it but the weight of that stuff on a shovel was worse.  Working slowly, I got the driveway cleared before noon.  Shortly after noon the town plow came by and I could get out for a couple of errands.

Less than a mile on my way there was a possum on the road.  I hadn’t seen one in a while but figured he was on the road because he couldn’t get over the snow banks on either side.  I went on my way and found him still there when I came back a half hour later.  I stopped and studied him.  There were drops of blood on the snow.  A reasonable guess would be that he had been hit by the town plow – and survived,  though the worse for wear.

I went on home and called the Audubon Society.  They have a Center four or five miles from us where injured birds are cared for and sometimes other wildlife.  The Audubon answerer was friendly and would help out if necessary but referred me to a lady who specializes in possums.   I called her and she wanted to help but was snowed in.  She suggested I get a box, push the possum into it, and take it to the Audubon Center until she could get out.  The Audubon people were OK with that.

Both the Audubon people and the Possum Person told me not to be concerned about the possum’s teeth.  They have more teeth than any other mammal and like to display them but are not likely to use them, they told me.  Possums, they pointed out, like to play possum when troubled.  They suggested a laundry basket would work well for transport.  They also noted that possums are basically southern mammals and aren’t at all happy about northern weather.

In the event, I realized that the big tubs we use to store up stuff for the recycle might work best.  All the negotiating had taken time but the possum was still there when I returned.  I put the tub down and pushed him into it with a shovel.  He displayed his teeth and resisted half-heartedly but then settled into his temporary home without further fuss.

At the Audubon Center, the lady in charge put on her heavy duty work gloves, picked the possum out of the tub, and put him in a large cat-carrier kind of thing.  She then filled out the requisite form to describe who had brought the animal in and under what circumstances. I could call later, she said, to ask after the possum’s progress.

See a possum / pick it up / all the day / you’ll have good luck.  (Old proverb, slightly modified)

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