Meet Ramona ~ Lisa Henry: Outside the Margins

Join us as Lisa Henry goes Outside the Margins.

Lisa-Henry-OtMMeet Ramona

I have a complicated history with possums.

Firstly, I need to make it clear that I’m talking about Australian possums, not the freaky apocalyptic American possums. More specifically, I’m talking about the common brushtail possum. And while Aussie possums are much cuter than American possums, they are also incredibly raucous. They’re the punks of the animal world.

It started with Sid and Nancy, the two possums who had loud screaming arguments in my roof. I first realized the hole in the roof was right above my bed when I was being woken nightly by Sid and Nancy screaming and hissing about getting in. Or out. Or something. Who the hell knows?

Johnny Rotten was the first to break into the section of the house underneath the ceiling. This happened right after Cyclone Yasi, in 2011, when so many trees had got knocked down that the possums suddenly had no way to get around, and not much food to eat either. So Johnny started breaking in, and I started convincing him not to by leaving bananas outside for him to eat. It worked for a while.

Afterwards there was Siouxsie and the Banshee. I found them in my bathroom. On my clean towels. I was on my way to work at the time.

Siouxie and the Banshee

“Okay,” I said, “I have no idea what to do with you. Please just be gone by the morning.”

They were, luckily. Not like that time I got home from night work, went into my bedroom, got half-undressed before I turned around and saw the possum on top of my door.

I didn’t name that one. I was too busy screaming.

Now, after years of the possums waging guerrilla warfare on me, I think I’ve finally capitulated. Meet Ramona:


Ramona is named after all of The Ramones. I actually have no idea if she’s a girl or not—I haven’t gotten that close. Ramona likes to eat cat biscuits, strawberries, nectarines and mangoes. But mostly cat biscuits. She does not like celery.

I leave food outside for Ramona in the vain hope that it will stop her from breaking in. So far, it hasn’t. What happens is she eats the food I’ve left outside, then comes in and finishes off the cat biscuits. The cats, naturally, are not impressed. They give her a lot of death stares, which she ignores. Their cat contempt doesn’t appear to have any impact at all.

Ramona is my friend, I think. Actually, I think she’s only a couple of ear scratches away from being totally domesticated, even though we’re still a bit nervous around each other. I know that I’m only allowed to pet her if I bribe her with food first, and she knows if she gets too grabby hands I’ll squeal. But we’re working on it.

Possums are nocturnal creatures. Which means that she comes in anytime from about 11 pm onwards. Last night it was 2 am. And then 3 am. I know this because at 2 am she knocked a Tupperware contained off my dish rack and then at 3 am she knocked everything else off it too.

“Just eat your strawberries and go away!” I yelled at her from my bedroom, figuring that one night if I ever get a human burglar, I’m going to confuse the hell out of him.

This morning when my alarm went off at 5 am—love those morning shifts!—I got up, picked up all the stuff Ramona had knocked down, and reminded myself to pick up some more fruit on the way home after work.

I’m pretty sure I’ve lost the war against possums. On the plus side, Ramona’s pretty damn cute. And, when it comes to Australian wildlife, I’d rather have a possum than any of the deadlier options!

What’s the wildlife situation where you live?

~ Lisa Henry

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10 thoughts on “Meet Ramona ~ Lisa Henry: Outside the Margins

  1. Those little, almost translucent geckos hang around on my kitchen window screens and eat all the moths the lights attracts. They’re kinda fun to watch, like fish, but, you know, not in water. Or a tank I have to clean. And they catch their own food. So, better than fish. 😀

  2. What… you wouldn’t rather have a bear or a shark or an alligator? LOL

    she does seem like the perfect untamed companion given her nocturnal leanings. Even better, she’s unfazed by the kitty glares.

    The ducks with their ducklings in the spring are an annual bit of entertainment. And our squirrels who are in constant motion. In the summertime, they let out these bird-like screeches, only they sound very painful. I think it’s a mating… thing. O_o
    A few years ago, I spotted an albino squirrel on one of the low branches of a tree right outside my front door. He stayed still long enough for me to have grabbed my camera, natural red eyes and all. 😀

    We also have geese, especially near work, and they’re sauntering birds of attitude, lemme tell ya.

    • You can keeps your bears, sharks and alligators, thank you very much!

      I love ducks! I have always wanted a duck. Geese, not so much. I have traumatic childhood memories of getting between a flock of geese and their food at my cousins’ farm when I was a kid.

  3. Oh my! I’m reading this laughing. They are really cute, but I would freak the hell out if I woke up to one in my house. Here we have squirrels, racoons, and bats. Oh and in the winter the lovely mice. Don’t they all come if you feed them? Our outside animals carries rabies and other diseases so most everyone discourages feeding them because you would have the whole racoon posse coming for dinner. Thank you for the more than entertaining post!!

    • I love squirrels! Squirrels are so, so cute! I have never seen a racoon in real life, but I can’t imagine they’re much worse than possums.

      No rabies in Australia, but you can catch a deadly disease from the bats so I keep my distance from those.

  4. I am in love with Ramona! And because I’m nice I won’t point out that you could have had this joy years ago if you’d listened when I told you to let the possums stay in your house and to give them food. Or I will point it out passive-aggressively. And then I will suddenly wonder if you made Ramona up to taunt me, just like that time you told me you had possums everywhere but then I went to your house and there were none.

    • Look. We’ve been over this. I didn’t invent the possums. I’m really not that good at possum-related story telling. Or photoshop. Really, I don’t know what else I can do to convince you other than invite you to stay at my house so you can see–

      Ah. I see the problem. That didn’t at all work last time, did it? \\

      At least we’ll always have squirrels.

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