Sep 10, 2008


We have a new visitor to our porch every night in the form of a young opossum. David was coming home from the train well after dark the other night and I heard him coming up the front steps with his bike but then he never came into the house. Moments later the phone rang and it was David telling me to come to one of the front windows. There, balancing on the edge of one of the trash cans was a little opossum who couldn't decide whether it was more important to keep an eye on the guy standing quietly behind him at the top of the steps or the girl's head now poking out of the open window that was talking to him in a soothing baby voice.

After David went back down the steps and came in through the back door, Griffin got an apple and took it outside and set it down for our new little friend, much to David's chagrin. He and I have never agreed on whether to feed the wildlife that lives in our midst and we most definitely never will. He adheres to the "absolutely not because it encourages wild animals to live too closely to us and takes away their drive to forage for food" ideology whereas I am of the belief that supplementing a wild animal's regular diet helps to keep those creatures living in very close proximity to us stronger and hopefully healthier, thus exposing we humans and our animals to less diseased and hungry animals (especially in winter) and hopefully keep most of them out of my gardens. This has proven to be the case with the exception of one very obstinate rabbit and one gluttonous woodchuck (see previous post). And besides, animals are cute and I like to feed them.

So the manky little opossum ate the apple and moseyed off. He's been back every night since and tonight as I was bringing out a handful of grapes to have them waiting for him when he arrived, it turns out he came by early (I guess opossums either don't have clocks or can't tell time) and I startled the hell out of him. He came back later though and ate all the fruit I left for him. David thinks he's started to come closer to the house looking for food because David inadvertently took his food source away last weekend when he cleaned up the lawn under our apple tree of all the dropped fruit (our friend's sheep adore them). The opossums love the drops, too. You can't pull into our driveway on late summer or fall evenings without seeing at least one opossum feasting at the base of our apple tree.

Though he's quite clean, he is one mangy-looking little guy. As David says, opossums aren't known for their good looks. They all basically look half-finished and undercooked, with sparse gray fur and lots and lots of pink skin. And they aren't exactly known for their intelligence either. But regardless, I'll keep feeding him as long as he keeps coming around or until more apples pop off our tree and he goes back to his original foraging spot. Or until David ties me up so I can't get to the food or the front door.

Nighty-night, Mr. Opossum.

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