Saturday, January 15, 2011

Creature of Trap One Revealed: And Then ... A Surprise in Trap Two ...

Yup. That's a creature, all right. (That's Andy from Creature Catchers doing the science part of his job.)

I had a busy day and was finally able to meet up with Andy back at the ranch--I mean ranch house--after 2:00 p.m. Thus, is was the afternoon of the first day of incarceration for the Creature in Trap One before we were able to serve him with a writ of habeas corpus and allow him a chance to get out on bail.

There was food in there. We met all the international treaty requirements on prisoners.

Andy, a truly nice man from Creature Catchers, put on these really huge gloves. Then, he tipped the trap endwise, opened the lid, and looked inside.

"That's a really big 'possum," he said.

"Would it be ... I mean ... do you think I could look?" I asked him. I've only seen a live marsupial in the zoo, except for that one time I saw this 'possum as large as my house in my Florida driveway. I caught him in the headlights of my car and ... wait, I'm getting off track here. Let's get back to California.

Andy said it would be okay. So I approached. My iPhone camera at the ready.

Mr. Possum said hello by barring his sharp teeth and hissing.

One look was plenty.

But could this be the Creature who has done all that damage to my lawn?

Andy said yes he could. Should you haul him away, I asked? Yes I should, he said.

"If he has been out grubbing on your lawn in daylight," he said, "he may not be healthy. That's not normal for a 'possum. They come out at night." The lawn damage seems to take place at about 3:00 in the afternoon.

Then, to add to the fun, my Neighbor came over to kibbutz. He's the guy who is trying to train his big, friendly, yellow Lab called Toby Tyler. Toby has grown to an enormous size and is working very successfully at avoiding all attempts at behavior modification. (Toby is also a very good television critic and writes for this blog, from time to time, when he can sneak away from his important "sit" and "stay" sessions.) But back to the Neighbor, who arrived sans Toby.

The Neighbor comes over to look into the trap with Andy. The Neighbor agrees it sure does look like a 'possum.

"What are you going to do with that thing," the Neighbor asked? "You're not going to kill it, are you? I like 'possums. I had one that used to come in my doggie door and drink from my dog dish."

"Naw," said Andy. "I'll just relocate him."

"How about if we relocate him to your yard?" I asked the Neighbor. Ha ha ha, he said in return.

So, as the sun began to set in the West, we took one last look at Mr. Possum before Andy took him to the truck.

Bye Mr. Possum!

Mr. Possum hissed goodbye to us all. They Andy said goodbye too. It was his wedding anniversary and he wanted to get home so he could take his wife out to dinner.

Andy smiles his goodbye.

Before he departed, Andy moved Trap Number Two to the place where we had success with Trap Number One. Why not? It was baited and there might be another creature involved in lawn grubbing that had been working with Mr. Possum on his Lawn Damage Project.

If Trap Number Two was still empty after the weekend, Andy said, he would just come and pick it up and take it away. No charge.

Then ... this morning ... I had to pass Trap Number Two on my way out to get the newspaper. It was Saturday and I had slept until 7:30 a.m. and the sun was up. Oh No!

Trap Number Two. Saturday. 7:30 a.m. Sprung.

Trap Two had been sprung and I could see something inside, resting quietly in the nest-like surroundings of the white plastic trap. It was black and white.

I called the Creature Catcher hot line. Their card reads: "Seven Days A Week."

The Trap awaits Andy.

I need to get Andy to the house ASAP. Because if Toby Tyler should come over to visit before Andy does, and that black and white thing in the trap is what I think it is ... the entire neighborhood is going to know about the meeting of dog and ... Creature Number Two.



I'll keep you posted. Oh, I said that yesterday. How about "stay tuned?" Also--possibly--stay clear.

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe to Robin Chapman News

8 comments:

Skywolf said...

Congratulations, Robin. I am glad the opossum was captured and will be relocated. Hopefully, the occupant of trap #2 will have the same fate.

Opossums – though not necessarily the most pleasing animal to the human eye - are incredible creatures. A few years back, I heard a commotion in my backyard around 8:00 p.m. As I rushed to see what it was, I saw my two dogs standing all excited around an opossum they had apparently killed. I was very angry with them although intellectually I understood that they had behaved on instinct. The opossum appeared as if it had died in great pain because the lips were drawn upward with all its teeth showing. There was also foam-like saliva of sorts visible. I took my dogs inside so I could then bury the unfortunate critter in nearby woods. When I returned a few minutes later, the opossum was gone. I was flabbergasted! I rushed inside and looked up ‘opossum’ online and learned that I had observed the apparently rarely witnessed ‘playing ‘possum’ phenomenon where the marsupial enters an involuntary comatose-like state, in fact playing dead to discourage potential attackers from displaying harmful aggression. Being European, I had not been aware of this incredible defensive mechanism as the animal can be mostly found in North and South America and Australia. A few months passed and I heard a similar commotion with only one of my dogs again surrounding an apparently dead opossum - I assume it was the same one. I quickly took the dog inside and returned to my backyard to observe the ‘possum from a distance. Wouldn’t you know, after a few minutes the marsupial snapped out of its trance, got up and slowly walked away as if nothing had happened. I was very excited to have witnessed this in full. Nature is amazing.

Skywolf said...

Congratulations, Robin. I am glad the opossum was captured and will be relocated. Hopefully, the occupant of trap #2 will have the same fate.

Opossums – though not necessarily the most pleasing animal to the human eye - are incredible creatures. A few years back, I heard a commotion in my backyard around 8:00 p.m. As I rushed to see what it was, I saw my two dogs standing all excited around an opossum they had apparently killed. I was very angry with them although intellectually I understood that they had behaved on instinct. The opossum appeared as if it had died in great pain because the lips were drawn upward with all its teeth showing. There was also foam-like saliva of sorts visible. I took my dogs inside so I could then bury the unfortunate critter in nearby woods. When I returned a few minutes later, the opossum was gone. I was flabbergasted! I rushed inside and looked up ‘opossum’ online and learned that I had observed the apparently rarely witnessed ‘playing ‘possum’ phenomenon where the marsupial enters an involuntary comatose-like state, playing dead to discourage potential attackers from displaying harmful aggression. Being European, I had not been aware of this incredible defensive mechanism as the animal can be mostly found in North and South America and Australia. A few months passed and I heard a similar commotion with only one of my dogs again surrounding an apparently dead opossum - I assume it was the same one. I quickly took the dog inside and returned to my backyard to observe the ‘possum from a distance. Wouldn’t you know, after a few minutes the marsupial snapped out of its trance, got up and slowly walked away as if nothing had happened. I was very excited to have witnessed this in full. Nature is amazing.

Robin Chapman said...

I used to go into that same kind of trace-like state during the Sports and Weather segments of our news broadcasts.

peretz said...

Wow Robin, I hope Dave Marsh and Marc Middleton don't read your blog. LOL!

Robin Chapman said...

Um, you think it would hurt their feelings? Nah.

Don Meuler said...

I hope Toby Tyler has "scents" enough to stay away from the trap. For everyone's sake.

Robin Chapman said...

He "nose" that instinctively, I believe.

Robin Chapman said...

To Sky Wolf: After you mentioned your encounters with 'possums in your yard in the NE U.S., I remembered that I had written about the Opossum in my book about Orlando. If you click the picture of the opossum on the right hand sidebar of the blog page, you'll find it.