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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (11 April 1999)
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Possum on The Terrace

Ever seen a possum? I hadn't. Yet there are 100 million possums in New Zealand and I lived in the countryside for many months. Tonight I saw one. Walking down onto The Terrace I heard some noise and I saw a cat-like shape from the corner of my eye. As I use to talk with animals I said "Hello Pussycat." But I soon realised it was a possum.
Remembering the Kiwi saying that the best possum is a dead possum I went to ask the night receptionist at the hotel across the road. He politely asked how he could serve me. With some hesitation I voiced my question: "How does one kill a possum with one's bare hands only?"
Could I blame him that he could hardly stop laughing, even after my explanations? Apparently he had never heard of the superior qualities of dead possums compared to living specimens of this cuddly animal.
Fortunately his colleague David came to my rescue. "Possums are major pests for New Zealand nature. And they carry illnesses." I was strongly advised not to try and touch a possum since it has very sharp claws.
The men came with me to the forecourt. The possum was still there, as if it had been waiting for us. It crossed to road. We could almost touch it as it climbed an electricity mast. The possum then artistically walked over the insulated power line to the rooftop of the next house and disappeared from sight.

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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (11 April 1999)
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