Summer of 2020. Our garage. Mom either had her babies in the garage or brought them in in her pouch.
They grew up on cat food and I’d take out the occasional piece of fruit (they like grapes). I’d walk out there in the evening and they’d be all over the place. They got so used to me, they wouldn’t scatter when I walked in.
In September, they were coming into the house through the cat door. That was it. Mom was spending more time away from them. If they were big enough to explore inside, they were big enough to live outside. It took a couple of days before we were able to round them all up and take them into the backyard. (Which is ground critter safe, but we do have hawks and owls.)
We’d put food out for them in the evening and I’d watch them from the yard cam, mom and joeys eating. But when the trash pandas realized there was food, I had to stop. Raccoons are really dirty eaters.
Since the backyard food source dried up, we don’t see them so often. I do put peanuts in the shell in the front yard for the birds and sometimes we see them in the evening.
@OnionSoup Well, they do have some nasty ass looking teeth.
Someone told me that the babies wouldn’t bite. So, one day I picked one up to pet it. Not in a threatening way or anything, I’d never done anything to make them afraid of me, I just tried to make friends.
@lisaviolet@OnionSoup Anyone who has had chickens, ducks or other small yard fowl know lots of reasons to consider them vermin; they are nest raiders, and will sometimes kill an adult as well. Plus, backyard gardeners know lots of reasons to despise them; one possum will systematically walk around a garden taking a bite out of every single tomato (ripe or not) and many other things. They’re worse than squirrels about that. They are not pure scavengers, they are omnivores of opportunity, and they are not at all picky about whether their meal is capable of protesting. I will note that squirrels sound an alert when they see possums, because their nests are a target as well.
@lisaviolet yes, apparently with possums its all for show, they hiss and show their teeth easily but its practically impossible to get bit by one unless you stick your finger in their mouth and then use your other hand to close the jaws around your finger. They’re much more “flight” (or play dead) than “fight”.
@lisaviolet@werehatrack Yes, I’ve no doubt they’re a pest to chickens, and that would be a concern if we had any (we do plan to in the future- always wanted Orphingtons)… there again, we’ve seen foxes, hawks, coyotes, and racoons in our area, so if we had chickens they would need to be behind Fort Knox level security at night or whenever we wern’t around to let them free range. Possums would not be the biggest of my worries.
I wonder if it were possums that did to my fig trees what you described to your tomatoes. (our tomatoes went untouched). Waiting patiently for the figs to ripen, watched patiently as they got close and then- bam they all had bites taken out of them. My guess was rodents, but could have been possums.
Our elderberries all get taken the minute they ripen too- and our gooseberries did… I blamed birds for all the above though.
On the plus side, possums can eat a metric buttload of ticks, mosquitoes and fleas. I can spare a few figs and elderberries for tick-clean up.
@lisaviolet@OnionSoup@werehatrack Around here, it seems like the possums compete with the raccoons for the ecological niche. When we see many of one, there are few of the other. Right now, the raccoons seem to be the dominant pests/chicken predators of the two.
Aesthetically speaking, I think possums look like ROUS.