A funny story

By James Mulvey; posted January 19, 2018

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Opossums are a relatively new species in southern Ontario. Thirty years ago a few were reported in the Niagara Falls area that were believed to have used the bridge to cross the border. Since then they have been slowly expanding their range. This is the second one I have seen on my farm and the first one I could get a picture of - and that is the funny story.

We noticed him around lunch time but we don't know how long he had been there. Three hours later he was still there and as we watched a little closer realized he was trapped.

Appears that he climbed up the steel pole attracted by the suet on top. He would have had to reach out to grab the feeder, then pull it towards himself as he climbed aboard. Didn't work the same way when he wanted to leave. A situation similar to a fisherman standing in the boat with one foot on the dock. Can't go forward, can't go back. Sitting in the feeder, every time the Festus leaned out to grab the pole, the feeder which is hanging by a chain, would swing away from it. When Festus moved back into the feeder away from the pole, the feeder would move back closer to it.

He was unwilling to let go from his current position, and just drop three feet to the ground below, and the top was to slippery for him to get any grip and leave that way. Only way out was down the pole.

We put a long stick up to the feeder for him to climb down on, and soon he was gone.

It would seem they are slow learners. The next night we found him in the feeder again, going around and around with no way down. Oh well, it's off to bed for us. He can find his own way down.

Now I'm curious. I setup a trail camera in the yard and to my disbelief, there is a herd of them living here. I wonder if they taste like chicken. That would be nice, four drumsticks, everybody gets one !