|Since it happened too fast to take a picture I offer, thanks to the interwebs, this image of former Secretary of State of Florida Katherine Harris holding an opossum.|
When I stepped out into the backyard early this morning to let the chickens out, I found an opossum just outside the coop eyin’ my ladies. It ran off well before I got anywhere near the coop. Since our dog passed on I’ve noticed an uptick in backyard critters. Still, it was late for a possum to be out–perhaps it had been partying down on nearby Sunset Boulevard and was just getting around to finding some grub. And that grub? Like us, opossums eat both eggs and chickens.
As with all such pest problems I went straight to the University of California integrated pest management website where I found a helpful article on opossums. The advice:
- Pick up fallen fruit (I’m pretty good about this).
- Eliminate wood piles (I’ve got one I need to eliminate).
- Don’t leave pet food outside (I never do this, though I had forgotten about a mostly empty bag of chicken feed that the opossum could have been attracted to).
- Screen off building entrances (I’ve done this).
- Sit out on the back porch with a rifle. As UC puts it, “opossum may be spotlighted at night and shot” where, “it is legal and safe to do so” (can I employ our local gang?)
Habitat control is a great way to keep the population of critters like opossums at manageable levels. But there’s a problem here for those of us in urban or suburban areas. I could do all of these things (minus the gunplay) but what if several neighbors on my block have fallen fruit, outdoor pet food, and open basements?
What we need is an integrated pest management version of Neighborhood Watch, a group of people, at the block level, who would help folks reduce pests without resorting to pesticides and poisons. Sadly, I have no idea how to organize such a thing without coming off as arrogant and overbearing. But when we, at the neighborhood level, figure out how to make these sorts of arrangements that benefit the common good we’ll be well on our way to a more perfected humanity.
Wait, I got it, a neighborhood possum roast!
An earlier version of this post contained the phrase “paryting with the winos and tranny hookers down on Sunset . . .” A number of readers, quite rightly, took offence at the word “tranny.” My apologies to anyone who may have been offended.