June 10, 2009
Too much late night entertainment is wearing me out!
The last time Coco had a late-night interaction with a wild animal, she awakened me by barking at a bat which had gotten between a window screen and the bedroom window. Well, Coco seems to be on a roll.
Last night as I was getting ready to go to bed, I let her out for what I thought would be her routine nocturnal toiletries, and she took too long, and dawdled about coming in, even after I nagged her. (Normal on a beautiful sunny day, but late at night she's almost always ready to go to bed.) Only after I grumpily ordered her in did she finally comply, but she dashed past me, and I noticed she was carrying something in her mouth which looked dead and grey.
"Great!" I thought. "She's killed a squirrel and I'll never get it away from her." Like most dogs, Coco hates squirrels, and like most dogs, she cannot catch them. After being subjected to an instant, high-decibel human temper tantrum, Coco (much to my surprise) dropped the dead lump of grey, and even more to my surprise, it walked away from her and into the kitchen. The thing initially looked like a rat, but then I noticed it had a lumbering gait, funny hair, and was too fat to be a rat.
Coco had found and dragged in a baby possum!
Using a dish towel, I quickly grabbed it by the tail and inspected the poor thing for damage. Other than a coating of saliva, it seemed OK. Whether Coco wanted to keep it or whether it had played dead and tricked her, she seemed quite gentle with the little beastie, and after all she did drop it on command (itself a very un-doglike thing to do). But I thought it over, and decided that I didn't want the hassle of keeping a wild animal in my house. So after posing for this brief picture, I took the possum to a nearby park where I released it.
While I think it was probably fine, it did go through the possum routine of playing dead. However, when I picked it up with the dish towel, it gave itself away by clinging to the cloth (something dead animals will not do).
I don't know whether dogs can get along with pet possums, but last night I was in no mood to experiment. My tent is big enough.
posted by Eric on 06.10.09 at 03:11 PM
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