Friday, 9 March 2007

Making light of the possums.

I have an ongoing fight with the possums and their desire to eat my garden.

Now, Americans tend to confuse our possums with their small, omnivorous opossums. The two are very different. The Australian possums fall into two types, both herbivores. There is the ringtail possum, a relatively small animal about half the size of a cat, that can eat twice its weight of rose buds etc in a night.

And then there is the big brother, the brushtail possum, that grows to about two to three times the size of a cat. Imagine Garfield after an aweful lot of lasagna. They eat a serious amount of garden in a sitting.

For the last few nights, as we lie in bed, we hear a rumbling sound that eventually materialises into a large brushtail possum crossing to our house by way of the powerline. The brushtails are so big they have to come across commando-style, hanging underneath the wire. (The ringtails, more dainty, walk on the top of the wire.) The size of this beast is such that I serious worry for the power line.

Tonight I will have some lights with a motion sensor hanging on the wire to see what affect this has on his migratory flightpath.

I'll keep you posted.

Yes, I have checked the weather; no rain forecast.


  1. This should be fun(ny) to see, wish you could have record the effect for us, something like Funniest home videos. I have seen the little ones before but didn't know about the bigger type, shall keep my eyes open from now on. Good luck Lee, looking forward to the result.

  2. Can't wait to hear what happens.

  3. The possums have a party on my roof every night, also. Sometimes they sound like a herd of elephants up there.

  4. Oh. L, am so wanting to know what happens!

  5. Eeww..scary. Do upload some videos if you have them.

  6. Its reminding me of some comedy movie... next you will be climbing up on the roof... they will not be scared away but you will end up with a leg through the roof and it will start to rain... ok I clearly shouldnt quit my day job to write comedy! lol

    I battle armadillos here in Florida... they are dumb and slow but root through my lawn and garden with their pointy noses looking for grubs. The entire yard looks like its been polked!
    Good luck on your quest!

    What do they eat that is in your yard... perhaps you could eliminate that source and they would go party somewhere else! Just a thought

  7. Yes, i remember from last year, you were talking about possums and I was thinking our variety that only eat snail and slugs, if they were eating my garden I would be out there at night with a rake. It must be very descouraging. We had deer come in and eat the tender plants a few nights ago, I guess they are having a hard time finding food. I put out corn, but away from the house. But we only have a few, if there was a whole herd it would be useless.

  8. Now, had it been the type o'possum as we got hereabouts, well, it would be easy to take care of....
    Just pour a strip of asphalt down and a couple times a day, drive on it.
    Seems most possums 'round here are suicidal and, lacking oppossing thumbs to tie a good hangman's noose or funds t'buy a gun, they walk around on any road they find....

    I have a guess about the light show, though.
    M'guess is, it won't work.
    At least, if they follow the behavior of ours, the reason their nocturnal is merely because they are lazy animals and dislike competition fer food.
    Good news, though, is that they devour other dead things that would normally smell up the place.

    A more sure fire method would be (and I KNOW this is gonna sound loopy, but, it's true) to get an old drummers cymbal (the drummer doesn't have to be old, mind you, just the cymbal) and stand and take a couple of sticks out and as soon as you here a critter out in yer yard just wail away on the cymbal (keep an eye on the stand...) and probably you'll be done with that critter fer a few weeks.
    Do it a few times and you'll clear out yer garden fer the summer....

    from that critter.
    Being territorial, though, means another will wander by eventually. Just repeat the stunt till yer done with all yer critters.

    By the way, you didn't mention how close yer neighbors are to you....
    Might wanna take that into consideration....

    Good luck in any case!

  9. Good luck, Lee!
    I wonder if you could rig up a low-voltage shock wire where they come in? Should be safe to run it on the existing line, like an electric fence.

    Since critters aren't easily discouraged, it's good to have a back-up plan...

    Bears (and deer) are a problem where I live--
    The electric fence works well enough to protect the local farm stand at night! I wish I could afford one, myself.

    Even a still picture would be cool!

  10. did it go????

    I seem to remember my grandmother's garden many years ago... she had an electrified wire about a foot off the ground strung around the entire perimeter of the garden. Not sure it actually worked at keeping the animals out. I would think most animals would have just jumped over it. It was fairly entertaining for my brother and me though as we would dare each other to touch the wire to see if it was "on" then grab onto the other person's hand to shock them. (I'm starting to have some insight into the reasons I am the way I am now...ha). Grandma also strung aluminum pie pans among the plants at various levels. I guess the animals were supposed to be scared off by the clanging noise. They didn't have any neighbors close by though...


Moderation cuts in six days after posting.