Join us as Lisa Henry goes Outside the Margins.
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.
“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
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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