A few weeks ago, for my son Luke’s sixth birthday, we had as many family members that could drop by for a party. It was a pretty day, so we ate outside at the picnic table, and with so many cousins, we created quite a mess. As my husband went to take out the trash, however, we were all met with a interesting surprise. There, stuck in the bottom of a plastic garbage can, were two small opossums.
They must have been there a while, as we hadn’t used that particular can for quite some time. We decided they had climbed in looking for something to eat, but because the sides were so slick, they were unable to climb out again. They were curled up in the bottom of the can, one on top of the other.
We decided to wait until dusk to let them out, as opossums are nocturnal and they’d have a better chance at escaping safely from any would-be predators such as the neighborhood dogs. We covered most of the opening of the can with the lid, to help them “hide” for the rest of the day, and then we went on with the party.
At dusk, before everyone left, our opossum lesson continued. We carried the can out back behind our house to the woods, tipped it over, and dumped them out. One of the opossums took off right away, while the other managed more slowly to find his way through the trees. They were both glad to be free, and we were glad for the opportunity to see them go.
We’re much more careful, now, about leaving the lids on the cans, though we’ve still had some opossum sightings around our trash bin. And just when we had gotten the cats and the chickens to leave it alone…