It was late midwinter and snow was on the ground in enough concentration that it created excellent and somewhat rare snow tracking conditions. I had spent the day following the trails of coyotes & bobcats & deer trying to identify the tiny tracks & patterns of mice, shrews & weasels. I was surprised to discover that almost everywhere I went I kept coming across trails of the Virginia Opossum. I had no idea there were so many of them in the area. It's amazing how snow can show us formerly unseen worlds with new eyes.
As I was heading home I noticed the trail of a particular individual possum moving parallel to the road I was walking on. It was a private road more like a shared driveway that only saw a few cars every day so the snow was still present and you could make out the tracks of the possum as they crossed over and headed into the bushes.
A little bit further along I saw the trail again as the road took a turn west and intersected with the trajectory of the possum. When I arrived home I noticed the trail a third time coming out of the bushes and heading straight through our property.
The next day when I went out to my sit spot I noticed there were possum tracks all over the field. They seemed to be everywhere and I wasn't sure if there had just always been a possum around our house or if there was something special going on in their lives that was causing them to be so present.
I mentioned all the possum tracks to one of my housemates and he said "Oh yeah, I've been seeing a possum in our garage." He had seen it in there multiple times over the past few days. When I looked at all the possum trails in the area I realized that they all pointed back to our house. All the trails were pointing to where it was making it's home at present... Our garage.
Possums are apparently semi-nomadic & will stay in one place for a few weeks before moving on to fresh grounds. It had been in there for a while so we decided to leave it for a bit longer to see if the possum would move out of it's own accord.
Then one night long after the sun had gone down, everything was quiet outside & we were sitting with a few friends in our living room when we suddenly heard a noise of utter horror coming from the chicken coop. It was the ducks & they were absolutely freaking out about something. Thinking it had to be the bobcat again... a couple of us ran out the back door. We got out just in time to see the tail of one of our ducks running blindly out into the night.
As we approached the coop who should we see waddling away from the crime scene but our resident possum. It turned & showed it's bright blue eye glow & then crawled under our fence to disappear into the night. It must have found some way to open the coop door and spook the ducks. It had vacated our garage and that was the last we saw of the possum.
We followed the duck tracks through the snow in an attempt to recover our friend but lost the trail when it got down to the creak. It was so freaked out about the possum that it ran away into the night and never came back.
What's the takeaway lesson from this story?
Never trust a possum.