I had a visitor in the garden yesterday. Or rather, my chickens had a visitor… in their coop, nestled deep in a corner with just a small tuft of fur sticking out.
At first, I didn’t even see this little critter. I was making my way down to the chicken coop to rake out the sand and tuck the girls in for the night. When I bent down, I saw a ball of black fur that barely moved. I couldn’t really tell if it was breathing, and I couldn’t even tell what it was. It was too small to be anything but a mouse or a rat, but the fur was unusually long and spiky for the rodents I’ve seen scurrying in the yard.
I yelled for Will — “Honey, there’s something weird in the coop!” — and he came with the end of a small leaf rake, prodding the critter to see if it was still alive. Roused from its slumber, it squirmed and scampered away… It was a baby opossum! So tiny, it could fit in the palm of my hands (though that probably wouldn’t have been a very good idea!).
Will nudged his furry butt with the rake, and the opossum fled again — down into the corner of the coop behind a rock. He was a quick and curious little dude with a docile demeanor despite our intrusion.
It took several more minutes of poking and prodding before the opossum crawled out of his hole, darting across the coop behind the feeder. The two faced off with each other, debating which move to make next.
Our opossum was sooo close to freedom, but rather than hopping over the lip of the coop, he ran back inside and onto the roof, upside down, his claws firmly grasping the hardware cloth. Every time we tried to bump him off with the rake, he’d bare his teeth and make a noise that sounded like a cross between a purr and a growl.
Poor thing. We were definitely ruining his mojo.
We finally managed to free the little guy… There he was, perched up on the tines and desperate to get away from these two crazy people who kept sticking a rake in his face.
As soon as we set him down, he ran for the nearest shadowy void in the yard. And this whole time? … The chickens weren’t even interested.