We had a Possum Adventure very early yesterday morning. It was about quarter after one, and I turned on the floodlights and let the dire corgi out the kitchen door. (The old corgi, now a certified Ancient One, has been sleeping through Last Call for some months.)
There was an almighty squawk and he took off like the proverbial bat, in full hunting mode, only to stop short about a foot from the fence in the corner of the yard. This is unusual for the dire corgi, who when chasing squirrels and rabbits has more passion than skill and often runs right into the chain link fence. There was something different going on, and I was pretty sure what it was.
There was a pale shape in the shrubbery right in the corner. The dire corgi approached it cautiously, sniffing and backing away. When I called him, he came back to the house immediately, quietly, with no fuss. This was one spooked little dog.
After I got him in his crate, I went outside with the big flashlight.
As, I had suspected, the pale shape was an enormous possum, curled up partly on its back, mouth gaping open and filled with teeth, little paws clenched, long tail limp in the grass, apparently completely dead. This was a sight (and probably a smell) to terrify any town corgi.
I did the usual thing: turned out the lights and waited half an hour. When I went back outside to check, our marsupial neighbor had recovered and (presumably) toddled off to return to their possum business.
This will never stop being cool.
(The drawing of the possum “playing dead” is based on my memory of the incident, helped out with some images I found on the internet. I don’t have either the camera gear or the presence of mind necessary to take reference photos of surprising incidents taking place in the middle of the night!)