The Possum’s Okay

The plan was to return to the farm after 5 days, but, as is often the case, things didn’t go according to plan and our return was delayed by a week. Which was no big deal for me but quite possibly a life-changing deal for a local possum.

When we opened the door it looked like a storm had blown through. There were only 1 or 2 pieces of furniture and some buckets, mops and old newspapers lying around when we left. When we returned, mops and buckets were tipped over, toilet paper was unrolled, the fireplace screen had fallen down and there were several puddles of water on the floor. We briefly thought some freak storm with whirlwinds blew through. But the puddles weren’t under wet spots on the ceiling and what kind of wind blows down an iron fireplace screen? Our minds settled on the fact that an animal had been trapped inside, running amok, trying to escape. Piles of poo near sliding doors reinforced this opinion.

Then we went into the master bedroom and found this in one of the high cupboards.

Possum in house

Brushtail Possum in the house

A brushtail possum and… we thought maybe a furry toy but had to conclude a young possum, were hiding in the closet. (Editor’s note: Thanks to Willowcreek Farm, I have re-concluded that the furry toy is the possum’s tail. Well, I’m embarrassed!) There are 2 possible explanations for what happened: 1) While Frank was enthusiastically clearing the roof of overhanging branches and leaf rubble, the possum took refuge in the quiet house. Or 2) The possum fell down the freshly-swept chimney.

Whatever caused it, a possum had been trapped in the empty Richmond house for 12 days with no food or water. I would have never thought that was physically possible so maybe explanation 2 is what happened and she only fell a couple of days before we returned? Though the thought of a possum falling down a chimney isn’t comforting either.

We opened the sliding door, shut the bedroom door and left her alone. We returned after dark to find the bedroom empty. I hope she had a good feed and drink and survived the ordeal both physically and emotionally. I will try never to think of this drama again because it sort of freaks me out to imagine the terror of the poor possum going around and around and around trying to find a way out of her prison cell. Eeek.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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18 Responses to The Possum’s Okay

  1. Let’s face it your a bit of a magnet for possoms.

  2. karen says:

    You’re creeping me out. I love city life.

  3. vuchickens says:

    yikes! poor possums! and poor you for having to clean up after them!!!

  4. The greatest gift in this world is to be able to imagine yourself in someone else’s place…congratulations.

  5. Wow! Crazy story. Glad it ended well.

    • Crazy indeed. I hope to see the possums around (even if they eat my vegetables) and knowing they survived. The fact that I can’t tell one possum from another won’t stop me from assuming my possum is alive and well – and her baby too!

  6. Do you think the black fluffy thing could be the end of its tail? I’ve never seen a possum before so I don’t know what the end of their tails look like.

  7. Emily Heath says:

    Very glad that you found the possum. If there were puddles of water on the floor perhaps it survived by drinking those? Poor little critter.

    • Nope, those puddles were here pee. I and the toilet seats were down and none of the taps drip. I don’t know how much possums drink but I imagine if they get no juicy fruit, they need some water.

  8. Ruth says:

    Laura you dill – of course it was the possum’s tail! I would have thought that after all this time in Oz you would have observed the rear end of a Brush Tail Possum. As one who constantly lives with them I assure you it was the tail.

    • It’s obvious now, but in the heat of the moment it looked so separate from the poor thing. Okay, I’m a dill.

      • Ruth says:

        Sorry, shouldn’t have called you a dill. it’s understandable why you would have leaped to conclusions. I’m amazed it stayed in place while you got the camera – usually they take off like whirling dervishes when trapped inside houses.

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