Saturday, March 03, 2007

Possum Tales

I found this graphic on a site called Brisbane Stories. It was on a page that asked 'What is Brisbane like?'

What an excellent question; I'm glad you're interested. All I can say is it's no mistake that the possum features so prominently on this Council sponsored webpage. In view of recent events I have come up with my own promotional slogan, one that I encourage everyone to use when speaking of the Smart Sunshine State's capital city:

'Welcome to Brisbane! A place where marsupials roam the streets and pop in for a visit at 4am!'

Catchy isn't it? And far more true than 'Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next' (Oh, will we ever live that one down? At least it doesn't rain anymore, an event that used to ruin many a tourist's bizarre assumption that 'beautiful' and 'perfect' equal 'sunny').

Anyway, here's what happened. I was woken by a noise at 4am. I lay in bed for a minute or two before I thought I should probably just check what the source of the noise was, so I could go back to sleep with a clear mind. I got out of bed without turning on a light, when a dark shape caught my eye up in the right hand corner of the skylight in my ceiling.

At first I wasn't sure if my bleary eyes were playing tricks on me. Then I had the wherewithal to turn on my bedside lamp and the shadow was revealed as one of these:

I think. It could have been one of these:
I didn't get a great look at its tail, but its face was very dark and its ears were stubby and round rather than long and pointy like the second picture.

We just looked at one another for a few minutes. I realised that the noise had been the possum's claws on the glass louvre. I consoled myself that s/he probably wouldn't come any further into the room, since the only way down would have involved dropping a fair distance onto a pile of defunct appliances. Just in case the possum was contemplating making the leap, I said to it, 'Don't you bring your children in here'. S/he continued to look at me before walking along the length of the skylight and exiting noiselessly through the louvres at the other end.

My friend, Dr. H, has befriended the possums who visit her. They get all sorts of treats, including macadamia nuts from a tree in her back yard. This possum will have to work out how to use the front door if s/he wants any treats from me.

Another friend once told me that her grandmother believed that it was good luck when animals came into your home. This is the biggest critter I've ever had visit me in this flat, and there have been quite a few visitors over the years. I think I'll believe S's grandmother; things must be about to get a whole lot better. Yay!


dogpossum said...

God, I wish I could swap our mice for more possum action. We have possums in our roof and a serious mouse problem. They wake me up nearly every night with their gnawing in the skirting boards. I don't know why - we're not dirty people. But our house is old and crap. And perhaps it would help if The Squeeze could FINALLY LEARN NOT TO PUT COOKED FOOD IN THE COMPOST!!!. That's driving me nuts - I remind him regularly, but he still sucks on that point.

Kirsty said...

Yes, thankfully it was a possum and not as I first dreaded a very large rat.

Do mice prefer cooked food? Discerning aren't they? You haven't thought of pellets? Or is that just wrong?

genevieve said...

We are plagued by possums in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, too. Once one got into my family's house through dormer windows in our bedroom (This is nearly 30 years ago, sheesh!) and ran around the house before my father trapped it in a large washing basket and illegally gave it a bashing with a golf club.
Imagine his amazement when he took said basket down to the back fence and the bush park bordering our house, and said possum stopped playing dead and got up and ran out of the basket...
I agree, Kirsty, rats are much worse. EWWWHHHH. At least mice are little (and so are their droppings.)
We hear and see possums here almost every evening - their breathing, their scuttling on fences, their acrobatics across wires. I still think they're cute, but they haven't got in here yet. ANd they killed my Vietnamese mint (haven't worked out how they did that yet - piss or chewing.)

Kirsty said...

'...said possum stopped playing dead and got up and ran out of the basket...'

So is that what's meant by 'playing possum'? And why wouldn't you if someone started hitting you with a golf club?

A visit to the Hyde Park Museum in Sydney convinced me that rats have some use. If they hadn't dragged various bits of things beneath the floor boards we wouldn't have nearly the great information we do about the convict history of those buildings.

Still, you'll note I say that from a distance of over a hundred years.