The Horror In The Basement

Looks like you took a picture of the possum just as he was raising his paw to give you the finger.

The Clampett’s would have taken care of Possum for ya. :wink:

Ah, it’s so cute! Don’t kill it! Now, I think, is the time for the obligatory I’ve been bitten by a possum story:

When I was younger, I thought I wanted to go into animal training. Seeing as Moorpark College has a world famous program, my mother and I looked into what it would take to get into it. Well, I was only 16, too young to do much of anything, but we found one animal rescue place that would let me volunteer. Besides the free-ranging wolf, the caged bobcats, numerous predatory birds, and various other critters, even ignoring the ones for feeding to the others, they had a possum.

This possum was one of the critters the owner would take on shows. This was ten years ago, a freaking cold year. This is important. I was asked to take possum out of its cage and it its carrier. The method for this was to grab it by its tail (serious) and haul it out until you could grab it (I don’t remember if it got scruffed or what). I was doing this by myself. So, I grab this things tail and pull it out, with it struggling all the way. It decides, reasonably enough, it’s not happy with this and bites my shoulder.

I said it was cold and it was. I was wearing a shirt, a sweatshirt, and a denim jacket. I was not concerned about it, seeing as possums’ body temperature is too low to support anything they can pass to us. I checked it after I went home. Even with everything I was wearing, the bastard had still managed to break the skin.

I don’t hold it against him. The deer herd who attacked me on the other hand… Bastards.

I was totally expecting it to be a blimp.

Ok, meeting (and lunch) over. And now, back to The Horror In The Basement, Chapter II: The Unimaginably Violent Encounter (note – chapter name bears no relation to reality)

First things first – perhaps I’m wrong about this, but the research I did last night tells me that the critter in my basement was an opossum, not a possum.


So, I see the opossum, and the questions start springing to mind:

Is that a baby?
If it’s a baby, is mama in here too?
Just how in the hell did he get in here, anyhow?
Do opossums ever rip peoples faces off, crack their skulls open and snack on the yummy brains therein?
Even if they don’t go that far, do they attack if poked with a painter’s pole?

I stared at him for awhile, trying to size up the situation, and he apparently did the same to me. Finally I decided some research was needed. I went upstairs and checked the above-linked Wikipedia site, and found more info from the good folks at

Armed with the knowledge that I’d likely survive the encounter, I formulated a plan. I got some apple slices and went back into the basement. I had grabbed a large cardboard box which I intended to place underneath him. I figured if I could distract him with a tasty apple slice, I could use my trusty painter’s pole to poke him off his perch and into the box.

However, the critter had moved to a bad spot – right above the furnace, in a tangle of small pipes. My plan required open access, kinda like the spot where he was when I snapped the pic in the OP. I placed the box just to the side of the furnace, and put an apple slice on the pipe over the box – maybe 18" from my quarry. No go. I discovered that while opossums might like apples, they like not moving even more.

I figured that maybe once he found out how exceptionally delicious this apple was, he’d feel differently. So I took the apple slice and placed it about an inch from his face (taking a chance that he’d immediately lunge, leaving me to draw back a bloodied stump). He sniffed at the apple, licked it, and apparently deemed it “yummy”. He picked it up and started nibbling, but lost his hold and dropped it.

Perfect…that’s what I wanted to have happen. Now I could tempt him into a more open area. I picked up the apple slice and placed it in its original spot further away from him. Nope…apparently from an opossum’s point of view, inertia is the sweetest treat there is.

At this point, I’d been in the basement for approaching an hour, and really didn’t want to spend any more time in there. Time for action! I picked up the trusty painter’s pole and gave him a little nudge in the direction of the apple. Nothing. So I gave him a bit of a harder nudge. He edged his way a bit to the side, and then stopped. Eff this…I slammed the pole against the pipe, giving off a nice loud CLANG! That got him in gear. He started scurrying along the pipe. I had time for one shot at him before he’d be past the box. I switched off the targeting computer, trusted my feelings, and took a swipe with the pole.

Bingo! Right on target…the little guy slipped off the pipe and went plop! right into the box. I closed it up, took him outside, and deposited him in the vacant lot up the street. When I dumped him out, I found that I had even knocked the apple slice into the box as well.

Gotta say, though…he gave me the saddest look an opossum could possibly give when I walked away.

The first thing that came into my head when I saw the picture was some guy saying, in a strong backwoods accent, “Well, son, looks like you got varmints.”

Moles are far, far uglier.

They’re not ugly! They look like giant rats! They’re adorable!

…maybe you don’t like rats, either.

We only have opossum here in New Jersey, but it is common to call them possums like we commonly call a raccoon a coon.

I guess we can take your word that you won and this was Hal that typed the quited post, but I think we deserve some proof, can you prove your not the baby possum pretended to be Hal? Can you?

Jim (Congrats on your hunting skills, I always uses live traps or animals to help me. You did it by wits alone. )

A doper to the end!
Eye to eye, Man to Varmit, locked in a eyeballin’ duel of deadly proportions, and what do you do? Research!

A very nice and enjoyable story, Hal. But let us know if you find the Mama Opossum.

… Or if she finds you first… I can’t wait for Chapter 3!

True fact. George Romero’s original script was called Night of the Living Possums but he had to change it because F. Scott Fitzgerald had already been used that title.

Maybe you should have eaten a slice of the apple yourself, while making very expressive moans of pleasure! ::smile::
Thatta way it would have jumped right in your arms. No need for the pole.

Glad no blood was shed!

Ha! Well, I didn’t go that far, but I did eat a slice myself while patiently explaining to him that it was a really good apple, and he’d probably be much happier if he wandered a foot or two to his right and tried some himself.

Then my wife yelled down asking me if I was actually trying to reason with an opossum.

Possums you can reason with.

Sheep, on the other hand… :smiley:

I clicked on the link in the OP, and the first thing I thought of was Ozzy in Over The Hedge, which I had just seen for the first time last night. Which, of course, led to the image of the possum doing a Shatner-style death scene when I was reading the follow-up post about it being captured.

Clampetts hell. Come Saturday, Hal will be having some Bud Lake Stew. :eek: :smiley:

Most wild creatures avoid being around Hal and making moans of pleasure. The sheep have spread the word, you see.

I have now developed of Serious Fear of All Things Moleish.

(The opossum was kind of cute, in a weird way.)

…you just had to bring that up, din’t 'cha???

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I got no problem with rats. 'Possums, on the other hand…it is 'possum, dammit. Ya’ll aren’t from around here, are you? But I digress…Examine the picture in whats-his-names link. The hairy is patchy, greasy and downright icky, like your Great Aunt’s wig. “Adorable” is stretching it. It’s live and let live, says I.

But back to the 'possum impersonating Whats-His-Name; they do have tiny little hands. Examine his furtue poats fir typos.