Pesky possum problem

Every night I hear possums in the garden, and wonder what they’re getting up to.

But one very recent morning, I was ready to go out and hunt them down with a machine gun, I was SO steaming angry.

I had a little tree sapling I was intending to plant. It’s a native tree I had carefully nurtured all the way from my previous residence, intending to plant it in this garden, which is lacking in native vegetation. And the little bugger ate it!!!

This is all I found of my little ex-sapling, a forlorn little stem sitting in the pot. 

I stood there and stared at it in disbelief.  There was no doubt about the culprit.  It definitely was not a caterpillar.  Caterpillars in NZ do not decimate an entire plant overnight and leave blunt edges on the sad remains of the leaves. That’s classic possum teeth marks.  Chomped rather than nibbled.

This is a perfect example of why possums are a pest in New Zealand. They seem to especially love New Zealand native vegetation, and have a great fondness of tender young leaves. By eating all of the flowers, seeds and young plants, they actively prevent the regeneration of native bush, and compete aggressively with birds for food, in addition to eating their eggs and young.

Even if you don’t hear them, you can tell you have possums nearby if some of your tree tops are curiously devoid of leaves and have a mown look.

I shall be getting a trap as soon as I can. I don’t understand why there isn’t a trap in the garden already.

Friends who spin are lining up for the fur, except that I’m not overly fond of the idea of springing out of bed at 3am when the trap goes off, in order to pluck the fur off the still-warm carcass (you can’t get much off a cold one). Not sure if my stomach is up for that sort of activity… bleh. It’s bad enough having to dispose of a dead possum. Shudder. I think they’ll just have to keep on buying possum fur yarns if they want it. Although I know that’s not quite the point if you are a spinner.

Makes me want to run out and buy up a whole store of possum fur yarn from Zealana, Touch Yarns and The Wool Company, just to help rev up the trapping industry here!

3 thoughts on “Pesky possum problem

  1. Must be very frustrating! We have mule deer that eat everything green or with flowers on it, but their fur isn’t as nice as the possum.

  2. We have a trap in our suburban garden. We put it up when I lost the plot over my magnificent huge magnolia tree, that brightens my July days and reminds me that spring followed by summer are on their way (I HATE being cold and winter), having one flower. The rest were on the ground, the buds eaten and discarded by the possums. The sole remaining flower was sitting at the very end of a thin branch, so they couldn’t reach it. The first year we caught 7 possums and we buried them in our vege garden, the tomatoes that year were particularly fabulous and we had great satisfaction in eating them! These days we occasionally catch one who is silly enough to venture near the baited tree. Our neighbour is also on the warpath and she regularly catches them too. One benefit of the reduced population is the increase in native birdlife in our little valley, so we are contributing to this as well. And, our magnificent magnolia again brightens our deepest darkest winter days!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this. My mother has a trap in her suburban garden too – this summer she caught nine of the buggers. I think her vegetables have enjoyed the benefits of the increased fertiliser too. 🙂

      Keep up the good work!

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