Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Late Night Encounter

I came awake with a start. There it was again - I recognised the sound of my front security screen door rattling. A surge of adrenalin had my heart racing as I listened for the sounds that should not be coming from the entry of my home at 1:04am. Rob snored beside me in blissful ignorance.

The sound returned - there was definitely someone at the door, not knocking, but trying to gain entry just the same. I shook Rob awake and hissed "Listen, can you hear that?" in his ear. He was not convinced, and still more than half asleep.

After several minutes of lying still and silent in my bed, straining to hear the approach of the axe murderer, I eventually convinced Rob that he needed to investigate. Grumbling irritably, he pulled on some clothes and shuffled out to the front door.

There was a moment of puzzled silence, before he called my name. I could hear the amusement in his voice, calming my fears. I joined him in the entryway and looked to see what had caused the commotion.

I have no idea what this large possum thought it was doing, hanging from the top of the metal screen door. Maybe trying to find an entrance into our roof space - I'm glad it failed, would've made a hell of a racket up there!

We have had quite a few visitors from the animal kingdom since we moved into this house nearly seven years ago. Once a pair of barn owls took up residence under our back deck, even allowed us to get close enough to photograph them, and stayed for a few days. There was an echidna who lived in the back yard for several years - we would see him every few weeks, trundling across the rocky terrain or snuffling in the dirt in search of insects for lunch. We've spotted a bandicoot quite a few times, and native birds like Rozellas and big green Parrots are frequent visitors.

My least favourite was the time a couple of years ago I happened to glance out of the studio window while talking on the phone, and spotted a large black snake coiled in the sun at the bottom of the gully behind the house. It was quite a distance from the house, certainly no threat to me, but I had to watch it and stood transfixed at the window until it slithered out of sight, thankfully away from the house.

Considering that we live only about a 7 minute drive from the CBD of Australia's 7th largest city, these encounters with nature are a delight and wonder to me.

Just to clarify, the possums we get here are the Common Brushtail Possum which are Native Marsupials, and they are quite different from North American Possums or Opossums (though they are a very distant relative). From photos I've seen, ours are a little bit cuter!


QuiltingFitzy said...

This may sound like a dumb questions, but are aussie possums the same looking as here in the states? Our Possums have rat tails. We had one taking up residence in our roof overhang. Hubby chased it out one day with the hose, but as it ran away...he chased it with the hose water...right off the ladder in mid-air...tsk, tsk, lol.

Those late night sounds are scarey.

Another late night we had a racoon pulling off the cover of our crawl space beneath the house! Determination!

Susan said...

Oh, boy, you had me from the first word! That was great storytelling! You have more than quilting talent. =)