Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Tragedy over the weekend in the back yard menagerie! I was very shaken up on Sunday. My back yard is such a menagerie of the Santa Cruz Mountain woods. I'm used to birds of every variety, squirrels galore, the occasional skunk, and am just glad that the continuing mountain lion sightings don't include my back yard!

I put a small trash can on my patio to soak a week ago Monday, and promptly forgot about it. I hadn't spent any time outside the rest of the week, being so busy at work. After a morning of errands, I saw an empty bird feeder (I had three full ones on Monday), so went outside, and immediately stopped in shock when I was hit with the reek of death, realized I was standing in a cloud of flies, and the trash can had a pair of beady scared eyes staring up at me from the bottom.

Oh my gosh! My first though was "rat," and my immediately following thought was "possum!"

There in my trash can was one thoroughly dead possum and then another still alive, maybe barely, undoubtedly its mate.

I was so upset that my own thoughtlessness killed an animal and may have killed another. I just ran back in the house, grabbed my thick gardening gloves, ran back out, got a shovel and started scooching (is that the spelling?) the can over to the garden area, thinking if I tipped it far enough, the little guy or gal could escape. I slowly tipped it over on its side and went back in to breathe fresh air and give it a little room. About 10 minutes later, I came back out, and peered in -- the poor thing was curled into a tight ball BEHIND the corpse of its mate. I can't imagine the horrors that this poor little thing went through.

SO, I slowly tipped up the bottom with the shovel, keeping my distance in case it got scared and start biting. Last thing I need is rabies. Finally, once the body came out, it was free and stumbled/tottered several feet away. It was a mess. Possums aren't generally that sleek and glossy, but it was wet and icky and looked like the flies had been biting it all over. I put out some water and cat food (didn't know what else a scared and starving possum might eat) at the end of the yard, where it was headed, but after several false starts, it managed the climb the fence and I haven't seen it since.

I've always liked possums -- they're all over this area, and have never done anything to hurt or annoy me. I just feel awful that I set up a trap, even unknowingly, resulting in the death of one little possum. If God cries over every sparrow, I'm sure He shed a few tears with me as I breathed a few words over its body before carrying it off to its unglorious final resting place in the dumpster.......


Anonymous said...

couldn't respond after initial read, tooo sad. OMG broke my heart!!! close all lids or turn them upside down ??? I have never heard of anything like this happening!!! epp. Lob K

Phydeaux said...

I know -- I was completely devastated. Shed more than a few tears, not just because of my role in the poor little guy/girl's demise, but even more over what the survivor went through. I hope he/she is OK now!