Thursday, September 12, 2013

Opossum onslaught

I caught another cutie last night, but this time I used a Havahart live animal trap rather than my gloved hands:

This is a pic of the trap sitting on my bistro table.  The trap was originally set on the ground, but I placed it here for better pic-taking. 

He's not injured - he's just hunkering down behind the trap door to try to achieve some cover. 
I don't believe that this is the same opossum I captured by hand on August 20.
The physical condition of this one was not as robust, but a lot can happen in three weeks. 
However, I can't be sure it's a different animal this time.  Old timers and country folk have repeatedly told me over the years, "Don't go turning that 'possum into the wild.  It'll just come right back to you."  I don't know if this is rural legend or if there's any truth to it (they do have seasonal ranges), but there's one easy way to test the hypothesis.  Like his brother (or cousin), I released him unharmed over at the storm water retention ponds, but this time I took an extra step: 
This one's tail has been banded with bright permanent marker.  It won't last indefinitely but neither will it wash off easily, and it won't hurt the critter. 

I've done this in prior years with other trapped opossums and none have ever come back to me, but I also released those ones farther away than this latest pair. 
So if one of y'all happens to find an opossum with a red-banded tail, drop me an email and maybe we'll make a science project out of it.  We could release the critter a bit farther away each time until we hit upon the threshold effective release distance, for instance.

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