When the Possum Headed North

About a year ago we trapped a possum living in our yard, with plans to relocate him to a nearby wilderness area. We checked local wildlife guidelines only to learn relocating possums was against the law. We released the animal on the furthest corner of our property. He was last seen waddling north as fast as his stubby legs would take him.

Our problems didn’t stop there. Not long after, we discovered our garaged supply of bird suet ransacked. Several neighbors remarked they’d been invaded by rats. One thought the reason to be the restaurant closures—their trashcans were empty. Another speculated the addition of urban chickens the culprit. Still another—the wildfires could have sent them packing.

Whatever the cause, we wanted them gone. We caught one small, distressed rat in our live animal trap, but my husband couldn’t kill it. We drove the rodent to the wilderness area we had reserved for the possum the year before. The rat hit the ground running.

But the suet continued to disappear. Hubs bought a giant rat trap—much like the spring loaded mousetraps of old—and set it in the garage. Boing! Rat number one. Boing! Rat number two. The last snap of the trap ended on rat number six. We stowed the suet behind locked cupboards and left the trap set for a while longer. That was the last evidence of rodents.

But still we heard noises at night. Squealing. Pattering feet. All outside, but unnerving all the same. Hubs checked all the openings under the house. Inspected the soffits above. Couldn’t discover the source of the racket that kept reoccurring all too regularly.

Last week I was enjoying the view of our patio while making dinner when I saw a raccoon emerge from the backyard and stroll across the brick. As big as a small dog, the raccoon sauntered to the hose outlet, took a drink, then systematically pulled the cover off the crawl space beneath the window. I could hear him beneath me. When hubs went to check, the raccoon exited the hole and hurried back into the yard. We’re still working on that one. We’ll need a bigger trap.

And to think this started with a relocated possum.

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