Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to handle a possum corpse like a boss (RIP PT Barnum)

PT Barnum wondering why we were standing in my pyjamas
in the front yard in the middle of the night.
Our neighbours may have been wondering the same thing.

For those of you playing along at home, this is one last possum post, for reasons which will become apparent shortly.

If you’ve been following the PT Barnum saga, you’d know that he came to stay, we tried to evict him and then gave him a new home, lovingly purchased and hilariously installed in a tree in our back yard.

The other morning I had cause to both celebrate and mourn the fact that the Possum Circus wouldn’t be performing Gangnam Style in our roof space ever again.

It started the night before. We’d progressively removed his entry/exit holes (making sure he was out of the roof each time) in the hope that we’d force him to take up residence in the possum box we bought the little shit darling. Somehow – we still have no idea how – the little bastard darling found his way in again.

This became apparent when he started thumping those hobnail boots and doing the toe slide from Gangnam Style at about 9.30pm. We groaned, eye-rolled and went outside to see where he was exiting. He never did.

Every ten minutes or so the scraping, thumping and lasso-moves would start again. Odd. Normally he’d be out and gone after about twenty minutes, not to return until 5am.

At about 1.30am it occurred to me that he might be hurt, or sick. Then the heavens opened and it started pissing down.

Cue the mental image of me, sleep deprived, in my pyjamas, wrangling two slippery, heavy, metal ladders in the dark, in the rain. I somehow manage to manoeuvre them into the bathroom. One goes up to open the manhole. Remove that one and then put the second, longer one up to actually get into the roof space.

Cue the mental image of me slipping off the wet ladder into the bath. Or onto the cat. Or my now terminally broken neck.

Cue next mental image of me climbing into the roof space in pitch darkness, shuffling around on my knees on the beams trying to catch a crazed/sick/injured/pissed off male possum armed only with a torch, a pillow case and reckless stupidity.

Needless to say, after half an hour of balancing this scenario with animal welfare guilt, I decided to stay in bed and hope I could catch him in the morning to give him some help.

Morning came. Cue the above scenario, but in daylight, and without me plunging to my untimely marsupial-related death. I shuffled around on my hands and knees, in my pjs, skinning my knees and inhaling a kilo of insulation dust.

The insulation had been pulled back in some kind of frenzy and there was poor PT Barnum. Stiff as a board, completely dead, without a scratch on him. I dragged his sorry little carcass back to the manhole, put him in a plastic bag and lowered him unceremoniously down to my waiting partner, who promptly told me that the bag was ripping and PT was about to fall out.

I’m not sure what he thought I could do about it, since I was stretched halfway out a manhole, clinging to dear life to a wooden beam with one hand and swinging a dead possum in a bag by the other.

Once I was down from the roof it occurred to me that I’d better check that it really was PT Barnum. On several occasion I’d spotted (cough) that he was a boy. What if this possum WASN’T PT? If we fill in all the other holes we might be trapping our possum after removing this foreign possum.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to sex a possum corpse in the midst of rigour mortis?

I hope not.

Eventually I found what I was looking for (cough). It was, indeed our own poor little PT.

So now I know that nothing starts the day in quite the same way as having to climb into the roof space in your pyjamas to remove an ex-possum.

I may not be beautiful, sexy or smart, but apparently I handle a possum corpse like a boss.

There should be a gang sign for that. 

Vale PT Barnum. You really were an arsehole, but I’ll miss you just the same.

Are you the one in your house that deals with stuff like this?
How do you manage it?


  1. You ARE sexy, beautiful and smart! Silly rabbit.

    I don't think I would have done the attic mission. I am too freaked about spiders!!!

    1. Thankfully no spiders up there. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway! xxx

  2. I go to my room and do not come out until the situation has been dealt with.

    RIP Barn

    1. I don't blame you Woogsy. How are those uggs going? ;-) xxx

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. R.I.P. PT Barnum.

    You know it was bound to happen don't you.

    One of the little chickens named Rotten - because we thought his mum was sitting on no good eggs, and then one morning SURPRISE! we had Rotten - drowned in the water dish. He was thrown out into the back paddocks with the kids Father telling them "Look Rotten can fly!"

    I have teenage boys to get rid of dead animals. I just can't do it.

    MC x

    1. Ohhhh wow. Well I guess we should be glad R didn't nail the corpse to a tree then. Look! He can still live in a tree!

      Wow. LOL


  5. Aw, what a sad tale. I couldn't do the attic, I cannot get up on stepladders without getting giddy and am phobic about cockroaches to an apparently hilarious degree - though I suppose if it was absolutely necessary and I was the only available adult I would just have to give it a try! Sorry this happened, it's a bit crap :(

    1. It's OK Alison, all our cockroaches hang out at ground level. Shudder...


  6. You're not alone. I have the role of undertaker-to-the-animal-world too. Birds, wildlife, insects and spiders, I get to dispose of them all. It seems that of all the squeamish in the family. I'm the one most motivated to have the problem solved. Some offer moral support from a safe distance, others hide till its over.
    I get good cred though, and usually a cup of tea made as others regale the tale of their close encounter with extreme danger.

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