Saturday, March 21, 2009


Wild Life

Today marks the end of National Wildlife Week. Therefore, I thought it timely to relate a rather heart-stopping wildlife adventure Edward escorted me on last Spring.

It was a year ago this month, a perfectly ordinary evening at the end of a perfectly ordinary week. The Songwriter had just returned from out of town and was in the process of bringing in his bags. I was preparing dinner and had opened the back door for Edward and Apple to go outside for a run in the garden whilst the Songwriter unloaded the car. The dogs ran out but, per usual, immediately ran back in so as not to miss out on any homecoming activities of potential grand interest. Both sat down just behind me as I stood chopping carrots at the kitchen counter, the three of us forming a classic contented picture of quiet domesticity.

All of a sudden our quiet was shattered as I heard the Songwriter scream out in piercing notes of a most unnatural pitch. I wheeled around to see Edward, sitting calmly at my feet, holding on to an extremely large opossum, its horrid, hairless tail reaching almost to the floor. I asked no question, I made no sound. I simply threw carrots into the air and ran like a girl for the door. Edward, of course, sensed a game was afoot and had no intention of being left out of the fun. He followed me full stop, but not before setting down his magnificent prize in the middle of the kitchen floor. Apple retreated fast on Edward’s heels, leaving the Songwriter all alone, holding his bags and staring down in horror at the full grown opossum lying supine at his feet.

Now the wonderful thing about a possum is that he is genetically programmed to play dead whenever he is in a precarious situation, and that was just what our dreadful little friend was doing now - on his side like a corpse in my kitchen. As I paced the back garden chanting ohnoohnoohno like a mantra with Edward following my every step as if to ask, what? what? what?.... man and beast were left together in paralyzed silence for what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly, the door flew open and I saw the Songwriter sprinting for the back of the garden. In the darkness, I couldn’t see what he was doing and wondered briefly if he had jumped the fence and was making for the airport on foot. But no, soon he came running back, muttering unintelligibly, with a shovel in one hand and a bucket in the other. His unknown, and hastily crafted, plan did not bear thinking about.

Upon his return to the kitchen he could see that our creepy wee visitor, realizing that his clever genetic coping mechanism had once again rescued him from certain disaster, was now sitting bolt upright, comfortably surveying his new circumstance. Fortunately, one nudge with the aforementioned shovel, and he flopped over “dead” once more which rendered him, most mercifully for all concerned, quite easy to maneuver into the bucket and out to the car where, luckily for him, he was taken on a short drive and eventually set free in a densely wooded park where, no doubt, he lives happily to this very day.

Given the unrealistic calm they both exhibited during this harrowing encounter, I do believe neither Edward nor Apple realized exactly what they had. Edward has several large stuffed toys that he frequently carries around, the same size and roughly the same colour as our hairy little houseguest. I truly think he simply walked out onto the porch in the dark, and picked up the opossum who was lying limp in the overwhelming presence of a large dog, and carried him inside as one of his stuffed toys.

Needless to say, it was a wildlife encounter none of us shall ever forget and one I fervently hope will never occur again.

Painting above: Noah's Ark by Francis Hamel


Note: It seems as if the opossum has neglected to travel to other parts of the globe and therefore some of you are unaware of exactly what he looks like. I thought this photo might be of help.

47 comments:

  1. Oh my dear friend! You had me sitting on the edge of my seat! EEKS... Thank goodness for the songwriter to be home. Can you imagine if he wasn't?!! EEKS... LOL... You gotta love that Edward. smile... Have a golden weekend! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rather frightening this gamba, is a fluffy toy of creepy further showing at the night. Glad that everything ended well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOL oh my what a fright but I am so pleased that it had a happy ending. It happened to me once, with one of the hounds but I think it was more that she wanted me to know that she had accepted me as pack leader and was bringing me a "present" she hasn't been tempted to do it again thankfully.

    Poor Edward was probably wondering what all the fuss was about. :-) I often wonder what the hounds think about our strange behaviour.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a rascal that Edward is. And he must have been very, very proud of himself to bring in such a prize.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just had to look up possums on the net, as we don't have them...I have to confess, I thought they were rather sweet, though it might be a different story if there were one in my kitchen!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I once had a cat that brought in a baby rabbit and left it in my shoe...Although I brought it outside I doubt if it lived long due to it's young age..but I tried...

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a fabulous tale! Possums are very creepy creatures, and I fear I would be useless and paralyzed with one sitting in my kitchen. Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would die of fright! DIE! This is the scariest story ever. I don't know what I would have done. You all are so brave to drive it away. I would not have driven it anywhere. Eeek! Oh Edward.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Miss D would love to tell Edward one of her many tales of Muskrat Love - which I'm afraid do not have nearly as kind an ending as your possum-as-stuffed-toy-story. Fortunately for all involved, including Mama, the endings were sharp & sudden. I tease her, often telling her she is a rare breed, of which very few are found in North America and as yet still unrecognized by the AKC - the rare and beautiful Danish Muskrat Hound a distant cousin of the Scottish Deer Hound and of the Irish Wolf Hound. Sweet dog kisses to Miss A and to handsome Edward.

    Have you read Edgar Sawtelle yet ?
    I'm looking forward to your opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ahhh! I LOVE it! Those possums are amazing that way. We had a similar episode with dog and possum...although he was left at the door, not IN the house.

    Funny, funny story...so glad everyone lived happily ever after!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. LOL! another story about nature in the wrong place - a possum in the nearby woods, fine - a possum in the kitchen, horrifying! just wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You had me at the first of your post and I was glued to the seat until the end -- Glad all is well that ended well.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Whoa, wildlife is good, as long as it is in the wild, outside of our door! Glad your guest knew what to do. I would have probably reacted the same way like you did.
    Wishing that you may have a wild life free house! cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my goodness this was sooooo fynny..tears in my eyes:))I had an adventure with Mr Bee(now living in the country)and a mouse ..But an Opossum..realy..Good there was a songwrite in the house.
    Never did see a "live" possum..we don't have them in my country..

    ReplyDelete
  15. You told that story rather well - I have never seen a possum and have to admit I don't even know what they look like but I am sure that Edward's intentions towards it were honorable. I have heard the expression "play possum" - now it has real meaning for me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Pamela, your harrowing story reminds me of a few experiences of my own. We once had a cat that brought 'presents' in the house for us to admire. Once inside she always let them go much to my chagrin. A bird on top of the kitchen cabinets, a chipmunk under the living room chair and a nice green lizard were all my problems as to how to get them out of the house....since the cat lost interest in her new friends the minute she heard me yelling...ohnoohnoohno! I'm glad the Songwriter was there to rescue you and the opossum!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I don't know anything about possums. Aren't they cute? Are they dangerous? Would it have bitten you? I always thought they looked sweet.
    I have soem possum fur from the feltmaking shop.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That was so funny, I am killing myself laughing. When the possum played dead the second time. har har har.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    Renee xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  19. Pamela......wonderful story!I enjoyed it so much!
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bonjour! Thank you for visiting! Good writing...you are very talented! Anita

    ReplyDelete
  21. That's a great story! Aren't you glad it wasn't a skunk!! LOL I can just see all 3 ..er..4 of you in the kitchen! hahah!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh, my goodness what a wonderful tale and what an extremely timely arrival for the songwriter - thank goodness you didn't have to cope with your accidental visitor all alone.

    ReplyDelete
  23. oh gosh, what an exciting encounter, I enjoyed the way you wrote that. Glad everything ended well

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great story! I am with songwriter all the way. Catch him and let him go somewhere far away. But what courage! Driving him to the nature park must have been 'a trip'. I would have worried that that sometime during the ride he would have felt-now is the time to make a run for it! eeek!

    My little ones (canines to be sure) offer me a rat once in a while...usually, they gently set it on the front step as a surprise morning offering. -one I have to deal with but I certainly would prefer not to and if one of these spineless household members would get the courage and take care of its disposal, I would be eternally grateful!
    Great story!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've been enjoying catching up with all the posts here this morning but this post takes the cake! I've been rolling around laughing (I particularly liked the flying carrots and the paced ohnoohnoohnoo).There's nothing quite like a good laugh to start the day. Thanks Pamela.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Pamela, please nlighten me, what is so frightening about an opossum?
    Will it tear you limb from limb, does it bite, does it scratch and how big is it?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh, goodness! What excitement! Have never seen an opossum in the flesh and have only a vague idea (probably quite wrong) of what they look like, so am imagining something halfway between an otter and a badger - perhaps rather ferret-like. Hope you and the songwriter both recovered quickly from the experience.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh my goodness! Poor, innocent, Edward! I am so glad it ended happily ever after.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a funny story! It sounds like Edward mistook the opossum for one of his toys and just wanted to play. What a silly boy. :-)

    Very quick thinking on your Songwriter's part. In my mind he shall have the title of "Valiant 'Possum Remover" added to his name.

    ReplyDelete
  30. So possums really do do that! They don't look very nice if that ones anything to go by.

    Molly caught a great big mouse when she was a pup; I was afraid it might have been a poisoned one and that she'd eat it, so shouted at her quite a lot. On the farm where she came from, the cats always brought the dogs presents of mice, which Mol's mum usually ate before anyone could stop her. And a friend of mine once had a dog which ate hedgehogs!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hello P&E, Apple and The Songwriter too!

    This was a most enjoyable story Pamela, even if it wasn't quite so for you at the time!

    Like Weaver, I am aware of the term, playing possum, but didn't know to what it referred. It seems many of our animal friends have similar escape mechanisms for when they are in a tight corner.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for the photograph - mu goodness me - I would be having nightmares.

    ReplyDelete
  33. OMG

    that event would have totally freaked out !!!!
    those things are so creepy and scary.
    yes, they have them in florida
    ( and most of the southern USA ).

    to tell you the truth....
    i probably would have played dead myself.

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wonderful post, and I needed to laugh desperately (having bad tap water problems the past two weeks). I could visualize everything as you wrote it, each moment suspended until the next scene. You were lucky the thing kept 'playing dead' and were able to release it back into the wild.

    Beautiful painting of Noah's Ark.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hahahaha!! I could picture the entire event happening in your kitchen and have just giggled my way to the end of a rather long week. Thank you for the released endorphins that will hopefully help me sleep soundly where I hope to not dream of 'possums. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. ROFLOL..snort...I was glued to the screen, Pamela!! What a laugh and what a tale!!
    Yaya

    ReplyDelete
  37. Great blog. Love all the wonderful pictures and poetry.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Whoa!
    Yikes...what a quick thinking hubby you have! And brave--I don't think I would have put him in my car!

    Great story!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Pamela, I just realized that you are not on my sidebar; I will correct that right away. What a delightful amusing adventure you have written here! <3

    ReplyDelete
  40. I would have loved to have heard Songwriter's scream!

    ReplyDelete
  41. LOL! I'm sorry to laugh, but it is a funny, if not a little frightening, image to think of Edward dropping a possum at your feet! Unfortunately I've only seen them in the "dead for real" state, as sometimes cars run over them at night as they go about their nocturnal hunting.

    When I was a child my cat proudly presented me with a dead mouse one morning when he returned home from a night of hunting. He didn't get a favorable reaction either!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Pamela,
    Thank you so much for your kind words. Your comment made me venture over to your blog. You have quite an amazing eye. I love all these vivid pictures. Oh, and tell your pooch that he is Handsome!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Oh, yuck! That photo is very scary. Are they dangerous? What is their prey? Could it have hurt Mr E?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wow, not sure I'd want that visitor in my kitchen!

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments! Each and every one!