I do try to respect wild animals and keep myself at a safe distance of all wild creatures big and small. Not because I’m especially afraid of any animal (except snakes that don’t even have to be poisonous before I scream), but because that it’s the most sensible you can do.
Let both parts continue with what we do best, me hanging on the Internet, making tasty dinners, messing around in the garden or walking /running with the dogs. The animals can continue with their search for food, tending their more or less furry kids and minding their own business.
On my walks and runs in the outskirts of the suburb, I’ve seen a surprisingly high amount of wild animals.
Coyote, skunk, squirrels, armadillo, loads of deer and wild pigs, snakes, and countless numbers of birds, big and small.
It has been times we actually have turned around to avoid a confrontation. You know, wild pigs with kids, deer with kids, coyotes and snakes.
When you spend so many hours in the garden that I do, sometimes this fact about minding my own business have to be challenged. (I wrote about some other wild visitors and inhabitants here).
A month ago Ulla (the standard poodle) and Milo (the rottweiler) got the wind of some kind of wild animal in the garden again.
The dogs always behave strangely when they discover something close to home. Milo always starts crying and whining, Ulla puts her snout to the ground and looks very committed.
And I am always, always afraid it is a poisonous snake. But it was thankfully not a snake this time either. Behind the garden spade sat a small grey-furred animal with a long snout and big black eyes. A small Opossum baby. I took a picture of it and the dogs and I went indoors so it could get some time to get away. And it did of course.
The following day Ulla was behaving strangely when I was weeding in the vegetable garden. And out of the tomato plants, a small grey shadow jumped out on the lawn. Ulla jumped after and the opossum suddenly fell motionless around in the grass. Had I really fostered a savage murder poodle in my own house? But I did remember reading about the Opossums ability to “play ´possum” ie “play dead” to survive the night before and kept calm.
Both Ulla, the ´possum baby and me survived the shock of each other. The baby scurried away under the terrace, and we all hoped that the baby had a mother and countless siblings somewhere close.
The day after again we still didn’t see any sign of siblings or the mother, and I gave the baby two dog food bites and some banana. And so it continued for more than a week. We saw it around us every morning. I read that it was quite usual that they lost sight of their mother (fell off her back, wandered away, the mother got run over by a car and so on). But I most certainly didn’t pat it or touch it in any way just so it could continue undisturbed with its life.
I had a terrible nightmare one night about the little animal walking out of the garden and on the street and got overrun by a car no matter what way it went. But I hardened my heart and was determined to leave it alone. Let nature fix things. One way or another. And we didn’t give it a name because we wanted a healthy mental distance from it.
Will be continued… Next episode Wild animals in the garden part 2
Want to actually learn something about Opossums? DFW and NWF are great sources!