There Is No Such Thing As Possum Zombies, Is There?

I really like animals. I do NOT like possums. They resemble rats, but aren’t nearly as cute or smart. They have a nasty temper, but are not generally dangerous. They are, however, extremely persistent and after taking up residence in your yard, refuse to leave. If they would keep their ugly faces at an agreeable distance, I probably would not begrudge them an occasional nighttime swing through the yard at night to pilfer a little cat food. Did I mention that they aren’t that smart?

Since moving out to our farm, I have had three run-ins with possums and each one left me thinking that I need to have hubby teach me how to use the gun. One run-in is chronicled below.

Every farm needs a dog–or so hubby tells me. One reason he gives is that dogs help keep wild critters away. As a result, we adopted a very energetic mixed-breed puppy who considered chasing things a very solemn responsibility. Unfortunately, her chasing was not confined to wild critters; it also included cars, cats, cows, and just about anything else that moved. Because of her frequent, noisy chase episodes, it took me a while one day to recognize that something was different.

I looked out the window and saw that puppy had a creature in her mouth. She proceeded to shake it violently and throw it in the air. Then she would put her paws on the critter and sink her teeth in to pull on it. I ran outside and quickly realized that she had a possum. Relieved that she had not killed one of the cats, I shooshed her away so that I could get a shovel and take the unfortunate critter out to bury it.

I ran to the garage and returned with the shovel and started to scoop up the possum. To my horror, I saw that the animal was still breathing. The puppy had almost completely removed the possum’s hide and taken several big bites out of it. I could not see how it was alive, but it was.

I set it back down on the driveway and wondered what to do next. Hubby was not home, and we did not have a gun at that time anyway. It seemed cruel to just let it die on its own, or let the puppy continue her torture, so it was up to me to finish it off. As I thought about what to do, I realized that my best option was already in my hands.

I raised the heavy metal shovel and brought it down on the possum’s head as hard as I could. To be sure, I repeated this process two more times. Careful observation showed that the possum was no longer breathing. Relieved, I picked it up with the shovel and carried it out to the pasture. I dug a shallow hole and covered it up.

Now dear readers, you have been warned. If I do not post anything for a while, please send someone to see if the possum zombies have gotten their revenge.

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About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at http://aldersonangus.wordpress.com.
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6 Responses to There Is No Such Thing As Possum Zombies, Is There?

  1. Owd Fred says:

    We had a keen young Airedale dog that was keen like that, but not noisy. We trained him up on catching mice under the last few bales of hay at the end of the winter. He caught them okay, but then he swallowed them whole. He soon learned differently when he caught his first rat, the rat bit into his lip and hung on, I can tell you that never happened again. It was instant death to rats and mice, and he stopped swallowing them.

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