April 22, 2005

Possum Roof Adventure

On Tuesday, the builders removed the ceiling of our kitchen (leaving the actual outer roof intact) this meant that our native residents (two? possums) were given access to the actual house. In addition, the renovations had closed off their exit from the house.

I noticed them come out at 1am, but couldn't get the camera ready before they decided to go back up. I decided against waking my mother as we had an early morning, and the critters seemed perfectly content to remain on the rafters away from the fruitbowl, and I thought they had managed to find some way out onto the roof (they hadn't, it was a different possum walking on our roof). At 2am I got woken up be them walking on the rafters again, and took some photos

Like the swamp wallaby yesterday, it is curious at first, starts to walk away, double checks and decides I'm not another marsupial, and might be interested in eating it, so scurries away.

At 4am I was awoken again by the most heinous of screeching from the cat, loud thumping and my mother yelling "get out". Somehow the cat had started chasing the possums... I'm not sure why they didn't just go back into the roof, or maybe they came down and thought they could take the cat on, or fell out of shock from this scrawny screeching black menace ... and had ended up scuttering through the house into my mothers bedroom, and her bed. So much for letting her sleep and telling her about it in the morning.

After locking the cat in the bedroom, mum is left with one possum stuck above her door, and another back in the roof - and we want them outside. So she makes it her mission to get them out. She feeds the younger one stuck in her room some bread, and tries to coax it out the door. About half an hour later she gets it out, via the catdoor no less. the door was wide open for it, but instead it decides to scrabble at the window (which has to be slid open) and go outside that way. Why can't my cat do that? It seems to have forgotten that the catdoor even exists.

So then we were able to get 3 and a half hours sleep before the builders came, and we had to go to Rocky. Overall an interesting, but not fun experience.

*Number 1 rule of native australian wildlife (or probably any wildlife) is DO NOT FEED THEM BREAD - a lot of people can't eat bread because of the combination of yeast and/or gluten - this is much worse for animals, and particularly native marsupials --- they will eat it, and enjoy it, as it is sweet and starchy, but when it gets into their colon it can do some very serious damage!
**Other rules include - not feeding them directly at all, its okay to leave scraps (eg. fruit) in a tray in the garden, as long as you don't encourage animals to come while people are around - don't think you are safefrom disease because we don't have rabies, if you need to handle an animal use gloves, towels or blankets - cute does not mean it can't damage you, they still have teeth and sharp claws



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