Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here there be monsters

We are going to have to stop letting Laverne out (on a harness attached to the clothesline) at night. She likes to hunt, which has not been a problem because up to now, she has picked on animals much smaller than she, such as mice and ground squirrels.

Oh sure there was that baby rabbit last year, but it was a baby rabbit. Rabbits are usually not vicious. And Laverne just picked it up by its neck out of the nest and carried it home, her baby prize. That was when we started putting her on the harness: we couldn't have her wandering the neighborhood, killing the baby rabbits in our neighbors' yards, especially the one neighbor who actually didn't want her rabbits killed. I had polled my other neighbors and we were all in agreement that it was OK for Bill to shoot them and nobody would call the cops.

Last night, though, she moved on to bigger things.

I heard her crying and went out to investigate.

She had a possum in her mouth.

A small possum, but a possum nonetheless.

Have you ever seen a possum up close? They are nasty, primitive looking creatures with viciously sharp teeth.

She dropped it and gave me her "Aren't I a fabulous hunter?" look.

The possum didn't move. There was blood spattered around it. This is the first time I have seen blood on any of her kills.

My stomach turned. I am not a possum fan and I am not sad to see a dead possum, but I am more squeamish than I thought. As in, bloody, sharp toothed corpses are not what I want to deal with.

Fortunately, SH had just gotten home from his trip, so I ran inside and told him he needed to throw away a dead possum.

He gathered several plastic bags and came outside with me. We both regarded the possum with horrified fascination.

It moved.

"It's not dead!" he said.

"Crap," I said. "We have to kill it. It's not going to survive."

We fell silent, contemplating possumcide. SH, definitely, was not eager to kill. I think killing is fine in self defense, but the possum was not an immediate threat. What is the moral rule on a wounded animal?

SH sighed. "I guess I can hit it with a shovel."

We thought about this. I thought about how does one hit a possum hard enough to kill it but softly enough that its brains don't spatter all over our new $5,000 driveway that we got instead of funding our retirement?

The possum moved again. It glared at us. If you have never been glared at by a wounded baby reflecting-eyed possum, then you have never been glared at.

"I don't think it's going to die!" SH said.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"I think it's OK," he answered. "Let's leave it for a while."

We went back inside and checked Laverne to make sure she didn't have blood on her. We didn't want her tracking possum blood onto the rug.

In 15 minutes, I went back out to check. It was still there, but now it was sitting up. Still glaring. Still ticked off and who can blame it? Its blood was scattered around it like a Jackson Pollock painting. Blood belongs inside the body.

It was gone when we left this morning. The blood was still there. Laverne will not be hunting at night any more. She will have to limit her conquests to diurnal creatures.


Fijufic said...

opossums play dead very well. My dog got one and shook it by the neck. I picked it up with a shovel, moved it into an open field and called animal rescue. They told me to observe the animal. It appeared dead but was not.

Long story short is that it scampered off within 2-3 hours...Pretty cool to watch the whole thing evolve actually.

They are not able to carry rabies and can barely see. They are relatively harmless even if they bite you or your dog.

Little critters...

Class factotum said...

It was playing possum?

Jen on the Edge said...


I hate possums.


John0 Juanderlust said...

That's what's called "playing 'possum".
I had a confrontation with one in Miami that was as big as a good size cat. If you don't nail it hard enough it will glare, hiss and bare teeth. The disputed territory had to be won to get in my house.
A big one is amazingly resistant to a swinging 2x4, I can tell you that.