10 May 2008

oh possum!

so early this morning, before i got home from work, the boys were awakened by a terrible ruckus coming from the vicinity of the basement. eye witness accounts say it sounded like a fan with something stuck in it, followed by the house rattling. will went to investigate. he figured it was the furnace, as one of our pooches' nose (s?) had been pressed against the ginormous air return vent all night long. and the thing with the fan. so anyway, i arrive home shortly after this all goes down.

when i got up today, i called the furnace service peeps - just to make certain we weren't in danger of blowing or some such. within 20 minutes there was a chad on the doorstep, toolbox in hand. i show him where the furnace is and come back upstairs.

chad lets out a little cry yelp type sound and says, "uh... miss?"
"yeah?" i holler back
"there's a opossum in here..."
"there's a opossum in here...."

well, then...

i wasn't surprised that there was a new resident downstairs so much as i wondered how he just happened to find his way into the furnace vent. since val had a opossum roomate last year, too - i actually read up on the little buggers and kinda fell in love with them.

i knew that the chanced of him biting were slim to none - though they do have about 50 teeth for noshing with. he also most likely won't have rabies - they have this crazy awesome immune system and low blood temp. i also know that they are fairly gentle creatures - that teeth bearing and hissing thang is All Hat and No Cattle. they prefer to avoid confrontation and like to be left alone. don't get me wrong, they can "attack" if the circumstances are just so. and i imagine at this point, he was pretty terrified. i had a feeling that it was all down hill from this point on, as far as his comfort level would go.

i head back downstairs and chad is on his walkie. he's standing as far away from the furnace as humanly possible without standing on a stair. i scan the room, but don't see him... "he's in there." says chad, point to the vent.

of course i wanna see this beast that made so much noise. i asked chad if had got in the fan, causing the early morning drill and he said that the filter would've blocked him from getting at the mechanical workings.

then his walkie beeps. he says, "ed, there's a opossum in her furnace."

more silence.

beeps again.
out of the walkie comes this voice - deep, low, soutern-drawlish, "so, what are you gonna do about that?"

that's when we both laughed. i say, "now, ain't that the eternal question, ed?"

chad starts working on a noose.

"you're not going to kill him, are you?" i don't care for nooses - neck ties or otherwise.

"no, i'm just going to try and loop him so we can get him outside."

his boss had apparently hipped him to some mcgyver instructions on how to fashion a noose with a piece of chewing gum and a birthday candle. kidding. it was really a cord and a thin piece of pvc pipe. but still.

meanwhile, bebe is making friends with the critter through the air return shaft grate thingy: "heeeellllloooo, little guy? you want to come upstairs? have some lunch? are you scared?" bebe has been glued to the spot with a flashlight for several minutes now. by the way - the opossum? b a b y.
even chad said, "wow! he was MUCH bigger when i first saw him in there!"

i try and call animal control against my better judgement. i'm certain they aren't open. and i know they'll be able to tell me how to kill him, but not trap him. so they didn't answer. i looked around for critter catcher type services. nada.
i tell chad i'm not having any luck. he goes to the furnace to try and get him. he loops the little guy with very little trouble and eases him out. as soon as chad gets BO to the ground, BO squirms out. and looks up at me. clearly scared.

i put a big bowl over him and slip a piece of cardboard under it to pick him up. we go outside and look around for a safe spot to leave him in. (have i mentioned there are 1,000 ferel cats in my 'hood?) we decide on the bushes around the church - close, shelter. BO waddles away into the bushes.

after chad leaves, i remember that there's some sort of nature center around here that takes animals. BO is just way too small to be away from his mom, i think. the nature lady tells me what to do. i get a box together and some apples and cat food.

and now, i can't find him.

bebe is really upset. apparently, BO and he are tight. he asks why he can't live in here with us, again and again.

now, hours later, i still feel bad. thinking there wasn't a place that i could take him, i just threw him out there - like that goat in jurassic park. no bueno. i hope the kitties don't get him. i hope he gets to live out his life expectancy of 2-4 years. i hope he finds food. i'll try again tomorrow...

i'm also wondering if BO mama plus siblings are still chillin' in the basement - babies typically don't stray too far from mama. the nature lady said his mom could've been killed, and that he found a way in to our place somehow. just looking for a safe spot. poor little dude.

...still no clue as to how he gained entry into the basement in the first place. he got into the vent via a small gap.

there was no playing opossum today, but i think this is interesting, too:

"When threatened, the opossum will growl deeply as the threat becomes more urgent, it will then either run or deploy it's famous technique- playing possum. The opossum feigns death in a very realistic display; the mouth gapes, the muscles freeze, and a pungent musk is excreted to mimic the smell of rot. This process is entirely reactionary and not a conscious decision. A opossum in this state can be poked, prodded, and even moved with little fear of retaliation. It can take a few minutes up to a couple hours for the opossum to regain consciousness and wander off."

and because of this, many claim that a opossum will show up as a warning of sorts - when it is time to pay attention to those around us who may be putting up false appearances -or creating diversions...

if so, the timing of this truly is uncanny. you ever have a series of moments when someone that you think you know very well says things that seem completely out of character? things that rattle your perception of them - not necessarily for the better? times when you think, "wow. i don't really know you at all?" yeah. that.

but i digress.



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