Possums and pests


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Imagine … it’s 3am and I’m sound asleep, deep in the middle of an enjoyable dream. Suddenly Cody’s on all fours leaping across me to jump off the bed; simultaneously Cassie is barking, a constant sharp staccato as she claws her away across the bed to join Cody at the door. In a matter of milliseconds, they are scrabbling and slipping across the floor in their haste to get outside. As my body struggles to react to the noise and chaos around me I hear the battle between them as they fight to get through the dog door first.

This all happens in the space of a few seconds and I lurch to my feet swearing and cursing like a fishwife as I race out the door. By the time I reach them even Cody is barking and they are standing in the garden beds warning off some dangerous beast. I drag them both inside, slamming doors and yelling at them at the same time. Banish them from my bed and lie in the dark for the next hour fuming and trying to get back to sleep. Not an easy thing to do after such a rude awakening.

The cause of this ruckus is usually a poor old possum sneaking quietly along the power lines at the back of the house. They can never hear me calling them to come inside but somehow they can hear the almost silent creep of a wild animal.

Brushtail possum  Photo credit environment.nsw.gov.au

Brushtail possum
Photo credit environment.nsw.gov.au

Imagine then my surprise in the small hours of Tuesday morning while I lay awake listening to a thumping and scratching in my bedroom ceiling that the two dogs remained inert and snoring. As I moved to work out where the sound was coming from, Cassie even had the cheek to roll onto her back thinking she was about to get a stomach rub.

Was it a possum? A mouse? Or a rat? I wasn’t sure but as it thumped its way across the rafters in the middle of the night it managed to sound like an elephant having a tea party. When it wasn’t thumping it was scrabbling and scratching. I lay awake for ages listening to its journey back and forth across the beams until I finally went back to sleep – no use staying awake, it was clearly a job for a professional.

Earlier this year I wrote about my wasp experience and was rescued from my little crisis by a wasp specialist. Fortunately for me, he also helps with other pests. Unfortunately for me, he tramped around the ceiling for a solid ten minutes and didn’t find any evidence of my noisy invader. Possibly a possum that didn’t think our home was salubrious enough or maybe a rat that’s hopefully moved on.

Native Australian rat Photo credit heraldsun.com.au

Native Australian rat
Photo credit heraldsun.com.au

If you are a regular reader you’ll know I seem to have lots of bad luck with the wildlife so there was never any chance that this was the end of it. And sure enough, whilst trying to enjoy my coffee this morning I heard it. Not in the bedroom but in the dining room, right where the damn wasps had weakened the plaster. Scrabbling and scratching away at an area that was already very delicate and porous. Images of rats pouring through a hole in the ceiling didn’t make for a relaxing coffee, so phone call made and bait arranged to be laid.

Don’t worry possum lovers, I know they’re protected but I’m quite certain it’s not a possum I’m hearing. It’s too quiet for a possum.


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