Urban Interactions with Wildlife

I just wanted chips.

I hopped in my car to go to the store, like I have a hundred times.

As I was driving, I noticed something in the road. It was an animal that had recently been hit. I slowed and stopped, because I was going to move it. It was a possum, and it was still alive.

I wanted to move it, but I also didn’t want to get bit. I was trying to get it to move off of the road by directing it with my sweater. A car came and drove around me and the possum.

I kept trying to figure out how to move it, or get the courage to try to pick it up. A man in a pick-up truck stopped and asked what was going on.

“Someone hit a possum, and it’s still alive. I just can’t leave it in the middle of the road to get hit again. I don’t want to get bit.” 

The man lives in the same apartment complex as me, and he said he’d drive on and see if there was something that we could scoot the possum off the road with. Instead, he stopped a short way up the road and came back with a black garbage bag. He threw the bag over the possum and pulled it a little bit towards the side of the road. The next time time, and the possum was in the grass.

My neighbor, the man from the truck who I didn’t recognize, and I introduced ourselves to each other. I thanked him for his help, as the tears started to come, and we parted ways.

The tears started pouring as I got back in my car. I continued to the store and got more cold medicine and my chips.

I prayed that the possum wouldn’t stray back to the middle of the road as I drove back home. It didn’t. It was still in the grass, in someone’s front yard.

I prayed … I’m praying that the possum dies quickly.

I’ve never wished I had a gun so badly in my life. It could move a bit, but there’s no way it’s going to recover.

I wished … I wish I could do something to put it out of it’s misery.

It’s usually such a blessing to experience wildlife in urban settings. The birds flying over the river, the occasional raccoon scampering along the bank. It’s such a rare thing.

And then there are times like this, when the interactions between wildlife and people are very ugly. And very raw.

I’m still crying as I write this. It was so terrible to see the fresh blood in the road and to hear the possums distressed cry. There was no playing dead for this guy. He’s going to have the real deal sooner than anyone would like.

And that’s a really sad thing.

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*Update – 11/15/2014*

I had a training to go to pretty early this morning, so I drove by where the possum was the night before. It looked like he crawled further into the people’s yard and died sometime during the night. I was relieved that he was dead.

When I drove home from the training mid-afternoon, three black vultures had the possum in pieces.

I’m still sad for the little guy. That’s one hell of a way for a life to end. But the circle of life carries on, and those vultures had a good meal.

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