Thursday, May 22, 2014

Critter alert

A large opossum has moved into the east side of Centerpointe Section 9 (Arlington and Harvard cul-de-sacs area).  It started tripping various components of my security system a couple of nights ago.
Cameras tell no lies:  the guilty party next to some 3 cubic foot mulch bags. 
I will attempt to live trap her and relocate her unharmed to a more suitable area (it certainly wouldn't be my first time, although I haven't previously caught a critter this mature here).  Meanwhile, I suggest the following:

  • Do not leave your garage doors up for any amount of time unless you are physically present.  An opossum will seize any opportunity to move into your house and (trust me) you don't want that.  Once they gain entry, they are surprisingly loathe to leave.  
  • Never, ever, ever leave dog food unattended outdoors.  Feed your dogs and then remove any excess food immediately.  This 'possum may be finding a good food source in our immediate vicinity because something is inspiring her to hang around.  
  • Similarly, never, ever, ever leave cat food unattended.  Some Centerpointe residents leave their garage doors cracked open at night so that their outdoor cats can find refuge.  You're doing your cats a favor this way, but you're also optimizing lifestyle conditions for opossums, which typically dominate cats (opossums are not aggressive, but cats are generally frightened of them and will stay away if an opossum comes to claim a particular cracked-open garage).  
  • If you have backyard gardens containing vegetables or fruits, be on the look-out for this one.  Vegetables are not very sought after by opossums (why bother to eat nutritionally-incomplete squash or onions when you could instead eat pet food with its well-balanced macronutrient profile of protein, fats, and carbs?!) and I haven't noticed any damage to my stock, but a bigger animal is going to have an appetite to match, so there's no telling what might occur.
'Twas with a great gut-wrenching anguish that I feared for the safety of my first ever Japanese eggplant this morning after seeing on security footage how this opossum was foraging in our yard overnight.  It would be tragic, indeed, to lose such a fine specimen so close to harvest.  Fortunately for me, it was not touched.  
The rest of my vegetables were also unscathed, including these two nearly-done peppers which are earmarked for a batch of jambalaya.  I had no room in my back yard for this plant so I installed it in the raised bed next to my garage.  As such, it has no protection from any source of damage.  

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