Several weeks ago, we started hearing possums running up and down our roof at night. And they were loud. Surprisingly heavy too. Thundering across the roof really quickly, they sounding more like wild cats or buffalo than possums.
Then they started to fight a lot in the evenings. Horrible loud snarling and grunting sounds. Charlene and I have our bedrooms on the side of the house near all the trees, and that’s where they seemed to fight. It was surprisingly scary to listen to, and I’m now pretty convinced that possums fighting is a base sound that audio engineers use when they’re building the soundtracks for horror movies – you know the scene, when the girl-who-should-have-known-better goes running through the bush in the middle of the night with an unseen beast chasing after her? Yep. That’s the sound possum make when they’re fighting. And since the girl in the movies usually ends up dead, I started sleeping with my window closed. Anyway, the fights would last for about 2 or 3 minutes, and end with a shriek, a second delay, and then the thud of one of them hitting the ground 2 stories below. And the fights would go on for hours.
(Actually, someone told us that what we were actually hearing was possums mating, not fighting. But I’ve decided to ignore them and continue with the fighting scenario, which it’s less disturbing).
Anyway, all of that was a tad frightening (and annoying, since I like to have my windows open), but at least it didn’t ruin my life or anything. But last week, the possum found a way into the roof. At first it was “huh? Did you hear that?” and “wow. Sounds like the possum’s in the roof! How funny!” and even “feels like we’ve got people living in an apartment above us with that possum up there”.
But then he decided to mark out what I can only assume is a nest of some sort, right above my bedroom - a little to the right of my desk, to be more specific – and went on to have some kind of psychotic breakdown, since I’m pretty sure he’s as obsessive compulsive as the pewee birds at mum and dad’s place. And though I’m glad the doesn’t seem to be fighting (or mating) up there (for which I am unspeakably grateful) he’s still incredibly loud. And energizer-bunny crazy.
Possums tap. Did you know that? Loudly and constantly. They also scratch on the ceiling for hours at a time, leaving you to stare upwards with a resigned ‘any-moment-now-I’ll-see-a-long-clawed-paw-just-coming-through-the-ceiling’ kind of inevitability. Annoying. Distracting. A tad unnerving. But doable. Especially since I’m hardly ever home anyway.
But last night? Well, last night, the possum won.
1am – woke all confused and couldn’t figure out where the tapping was coming from. Finally woke up enough to realize and stood by my desk clapping loudly for a good few minutes before he stopped and I stumbled back to bed.
2am – Woke up again. This time tried clapping and turning the bathroom light on and off over and over again before he stopped and I stumbled back to bed.
3am – Woke up again. Clapped. Sang. Talked loudly. Turned bathroom light on and off many times.... stumbled back to bed.
4am – Woke up to find myself standing on my chair, outside the bathroom door, banging my drink bottle on the ceiling over and over again. Have no memory of how I got there.
5am – Figured it was probably lucky I don’t own a shotgun, or the roof would have been littered with massive Elma-Fudd-worthy holes.
By 6am, I’d decided to declare war.
I went to work, and I called the RSPCA. Now I was concerned that their suggestions would be a little too humane for the horrible creature in the roof (I was thinking along the lines of poisonous gas or a large bonfire), but I figured they’d be a good place to start. The chirpy animal loving girl on the other end of the phone sounded like she thought the possum was cute (clearly she’s never met one) and suggested we get a pest guy “they do cost money though”, or that we find the hole and patch it up one night when the possum’s left the roof (even though I explained that ours never leaves the roof).
I’ve since perused the website of several pest controllers who specialize in being possum-remover-extraordinaires, and while they tend to have very cool Steve Irwin style outfits and awesome action photos, they do indeed cost money. And I don’t think we’ll have much luck with the ‘finding and fixing the hole myself’ thing, since it’s a two story house and I haven’t forgotten the time I tried to climb a wheelie bin to access the second floor of Emily’s house in Washington last year...
So I did some more research and learned that possums are really bad in the roof because they ruin your installation and chew through wires. So I thought the real estate guys that manage the house we rent would be interested enough in this ‘horrific damage’ to fix the problem for me. They never reply to any of our emails or enquiries, but since this possum is likely ruining their house (“I’m just worried about the instillation and the mess he’s making up there and thought you’d want to know at once”) I thought they might be interested.
The receptionist sounded chirpy and interested and was going to get the agent to call me straight back. But that was 10 hours ago so though I’ll continue to try, he’s obviously going to ignore us about this just like he does with everything else.... *heavy sigh*
So for my first day of war, I’ve been pretty ineffective. And now it’s night time again. And he’s still up there! What is he even doing up there? I mean, they’re nocturnal! He’s supposed to be sleeping (quietly, I’d assume) in the roof during the day, and then going outside to hunt and eat and 'fight' on top of the roof at night. I don’t understand why he won't just leave me alone!
I’m going to head home now, and stare at the man-hole I discovered yesterday on the ceiling next to the main bathroom.... If I had a ladder, and a rabbies-proof-suit, and a shotgun, and a poisonous gas canister, and a gas mask, and if I wasn’t quite so scared that he'd kill me – I’d be tempted to stick my head up through the man-hole and into the roof, and show that possum who’s boss.
Because clearly, right now that darn possum is the boss.
And I just *yawn* I just want to get *yawn* some sleep tonight. That’s all...