Versus the Possum, Round Two

The ongoing battle of roof garden versus the possom continues. I think I’m making some headway.

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Oh what, you can’t get past my genius chair barrier* to those delicious plants? Boo hoo.

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Gives me the stink eye.

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Changes tactics and goes for the cute and cuddly mammal routine. But I am strong and not easily fooled.

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Yeah, that’s right take your plant eating ways elsewhere! I will not be defeated!

Possom – 1
Me – 1

Unfortunately, we think he/she lives in the rubble underneath the fire escape. He/she may be slow and a little bit dumb but he/she doesn’t have a far commute.

See round one here.

*Chair Barrier: It was Davin’s suggestion to employ a child safety gate as an extra layer of protection. It’s a good, if not somewhat ever-so-slightly risky idea, but since there is no way I’m going to fork over $30-100 to keep critters out of my garden I’ve put this chair in place while I wait for a used baby gate to pop up on Freecycle or the oppossum to give up already.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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21 thoughts on “Versus the Possum, Round Two

  1. Have you considered trapping this guy and bringing him to the humane society or something?

    Also, cute & cuddly mammal part made me laugh my head off, ’cause that’s how I feel about the rabbits when I see them all snuggly and adorable in the back yard.

  2. I don’t think they take possoms hat the humane society here. They are considered wildlife that just live in the area. He’s not hurt, just hungry. The only thing I’ve considered is trapping him and letting him go in the land around the tracks which is probably where he originally came from. But who knows…. and it’s just not far away enough anyway. He may just be making his journey from there every night for all I know.

    I think this is just the reality of creating an oasis on an urban roof. Word has been getting out to the local critters so that every year I’ve got someone new coming around to get a piece of the buffet.

  3. Hee hee hee… You go… girl.

    I seem to remember that possoms are quite the little climbers and I’m not sure that a baby gate would pose much of an issue – then again, it was deterred by your chair – but don’t they often live in trees?

  4. Be wary–
    Despite the cute and cuddly mammal face, possums have very sharp, not-afraid-to-gnaw-on-wood teeth. I had one that tried to chew through a wall right outside the window unit air conditioner at my old studio. I would beat on the wall until it quit, but it just came back later. Eventually it made it through and he/she won that battle.

  5. I can’t figure it out either but it has worked for two nights in a row. He/she just sits there with a perplexed look and then slowly turns around and goes back down the stairs. I wouldn’t suggest a barrier like this for anyone else since they are supposed to be climbers but it’s working for me so I’ll just keep going with it. Maybe my guy/gal is elderly.

  6. He’s probably well fed enough from the local trash. Opportunistic little beasts. Looks like it might be a juvenile, actually.

  7. That is almost sad… the little cute oversized rat face. I have a soft spot for animals in my heart… unfortunately, the spot in my heart for my garden sits right next to it. Good luck with the chair barrier. Too bad I can’t do that in my back yard :)

  8. yep, he/she does seem to be young. and may be lethargic or slightly ill after eating something in the trash.

    growing up on the farm and ranch, we always let wild grasses and plants grow up around the veggies so the grasshoppers etc. had something else to eat.

    maybe a few “wild” veggies near the rubble would keep the lil’ bugger content.

    not sure if this is just folk lore, but have heard that possums are territorial and out-and-about at night, keeping other less wanted scurriers away (i.e. rats).

  9. maybe you could find a piece of corrugated metal or something that is more slippery, hard to climb, and impossible to chew through. And probably free. You could even make some sort of “recycling old junk” gate out of old metal things and it would look super cool.

  10. Davin thought about planting something in the rubble area but it is so dark and shady down there… and really the possum as been so peculiar in its interests. I have loads of tomatoes sitting out in the open, completely unprotected elsewhere on the deck and it hasn’t touched those!

  11. It’s strange that it hasn’t touched the other tomatoes on your roof. If you have some of the spare ones that it likes may-be you could plant some of that by the dumpster for it?

  12. Been reading and enjoying your writings for a couple years now. Learned a few things along the way and been inspired a few times.

    This project forced me to delurk…be careful, Gayla. They are not cute and cuddly, they can be quite aggressive, determined and more agile than they appear.

    My personal battle involved possum vs. my hens resulting from what we refer to around here as the Great Chicken Massacre of 2003. We won that battle eventually but it required the use of a borrowed varmit gun…don’t think that’s an option for your situation and it’s pretty sickening to kill but it got to that point when we were finding dead hens with just one bite out of them despite many layers of chicken wire. I’d rather have been finding dead tomatoes.

    Good luck with your battle, keep your distance and put me down for a vote for trapping and relocating.

  13. Just Mein: Yikes about the hens with one bite! The cute and cuddly comment was facetious…. no cuddling with possums over here. Ours has been really docile but it’s a wild animal that should be afraid of us and isn’t… that makes us even more careful around it!

  14. Strictly speaking, it has a cute and cuddly marsupial face.

    I like the creativity of the chair barrier. In comparison, my uncle’s preferred method of possum control involves a certain baseball implement.

  15. Maybe he has come with a message to two sympathetic listeners! Out here animals show up (most intrepidly)when someone has a problem.

  16. If you’ve got a battery powered radio, trying leaving it by the possum’s fave entry location, tuned to NPR, or a nice talk radio station. The sound of human voices is sometimes enough to dissuade wildlife in coming closer to a possible predator. Course, it all depends on how habituated he/she is to humans. At the very least, you might get a glimpse of the defensive possum ‘hiss’, which is one of my most favorite defensive animal behaviors. Way better than a raccoon’s lunge’n'bite. :)

  17. That thing is just so adorable. But I can understand you don’t like it attacking your wonderful plants. When is round three (wink,wink). I hope there will be no round three. Maybe you should follow him down to see where he lives then in the morning you can capture him and bring him to an animal shelter so someone can adopt him! (Like anyone would)

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