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Poss and I
 By Valkyrie   •   5th Jun 2010   •   5,680 views   •   4 comments
When I was about 13 or 14 I had the great opportunity to raise a possum. New Zealand possums are different from American opossums. They came over from Australia and are now a pest that destroys native trees, kills native birds and passes tuberculosis onto cattle. In Australia they are protected, but in New Zealand they are hunted.

New Zealand possumsOne night we were staying at a place called Whangapoua, where my parents were leasing a farm. Outside there was a possum in a tree and it was making too much noise to sleep so my dad took us out so we could watch him shoot it. This may seem macabre, taking little kids out to watch something die, but it's a favourite pasttime in New Zealand and my dad is such a good shot that the possum didn't suffer. It fell out of the tree and was dead before it hit the ground.

My dad told my brother to get a plastic bag for the fur, because possum fur makes good, soft pillows that are popular with tourists. He started plucking it then stopped, laughed and reached into its pouch, pulling out a little baby joey. My sister and I encouraged him to let us keep it. My dad had pet possums as a boy, so he let us.

It was originally supposed to be my brother's because his dog had recently died, but he didn't take care of it and I got the job. The baby was simply called Poss, and we didn't know whether it was a boy or a girl. It slept in a beanie hat during the day and I had to feed it heated up milk from an eye-dropper.

We took Poss home with us when we left Whangapoua a few days later and it grew up to be a mischievous little thing. I sometimes slept with it in the beanie in my bed, but usually it stayed in a box because possum's are nocturnal and it would try escape and run around the room. I had to keep the door closed as well, because both of our dogs are avid possum hunters (one is so obsessed that if you point at a tree and say "get the possum, Peg!" she goes nuts and tries to climb the tree).

I wore the same blue jacket whenever I handled Poss, and it would cling to my arm the whole time. I also had to be careful to always wear pants when it was roaming around on the floor of my room, because it would suddenly decide to climb my leg and its sharp little claws would make me bleed.

Poss had a funny way of bounding when it walked, and would do "supermans" off the couch if I tried leaving it there to go get a drink. One time it climbed onto the table between my mum and dad's chairs in the lounge and, balancing precariously on the edge, drank some remaining wine out of my mum's wine glass.

Poss was such a crazy, funny little pet. We ended up releasing it (even though it's illegal) because I refused to let dad kill it. It was a great experience raising something more exotic than a puppy or a kitten, and I learned alot about caring for animals. I will always remember Poss.

(Picture is not owned by me, I did not have any pics of Poss handy when I wrote this article).
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Valkyrie
No Name  
that is not the kind of possum I have seen before. and I live in Maryland. that looks more like a different animal because possums have more than one baby. they have at least 12.
  Jun 5, 2010  •  3,507 views
 
halfbrokehorses  
aww. poss sounds so cute!
  Jun 5, 2010  •  3,515 views
 
Valkyrie   MOD 
Marissa: I mentioned in the article that NZ possum are different from American possums.
  Jun 5, 2010  •  3,489 views
 
Cryztaltrees  
Wow, thats awesome! Your dog sound funny! Lol XD Since we live in New Zealand too, we go out possum shooting with our uncle. We go out late at night on the motorbike and search through all the trees and his dog alerts us whenever she finds something. =)
  Jun 6, 2010  •  3,598 views
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