Opossum/other animal problems? [Sorta long read]

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by FoxfireBass, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Hey guys,

    For the past couple of days (4-5), our refridgerator hasn't worked (apparently, something got stuck in the fan and the compressor overheated and broke)...anyways, the night we found out it broke, we had fish for dinner.

    The next day, I came home from school and found that the house smelled like fish. I couldn't figure out what the heck it was.

    Over the period of days, it became worse and worse. After my parents told me that there were tons of flies (It was described to me as "balls of flies") swarming around this window that goes into a crawlspace under our sunroom, I realized it couldn't've been the fish we'd had for dinner that night that was lingering (it also didn't seem possible, but still :p).

    As it got worse, it smelled all over the first floor of our house. We had to seal off the sunroom because it was really annoying, and we called 311 and got some animal control people to say they'd come tomorrow.

    Originally, we'd thought that maybe an opossum or a cat or something had died in the crawlspace mentioned earlier...the smell was really bad, and were it something smaller, the smell wouldn't have been nearly as noticeable. Our next door neighbor had also recently found an opossum sneaking around in their garage and yard, and this was taken away by animal control.

    So the animal control people came today, and they ended up saying that they "don't do that." Apparently, they're worried about liabilities and whatnot. So we didn't know what to do.

    Eventually, my dad said "Ted, let's go get rid of whatever the hell is in there." So we went to do it...

    We opened the crawl space and it smelled putrid. My seven year old brother, though oddly intrigued, felt really sick, and ended up throwing up a couple of times.

    My dad went to look around inside (with rubber gloves, a shovel, and a garbage bag), and came out and told my brother and I that it smelled absolutely horrible in there, that there were no flies, he couldn't figure out whatever the hell that was rotting in there got in, and he saw a lump of something he had absolutely no clue about.

    He went back in after getting a few lungfuls of fresh air (He wouldn't let me go inside with him :meh: ), and spent the next 10 minutes or so shovelling the "lump" into a garbage bag...in the light it looked sort of blondeish, and REALLY long, so at the time I thought maybe it was a dog...

    So anyways, after filling a bag with whatever it was (lots of great looking things like intestines and everything else could be seen through the bag), he chucked it in a garbage can and said it was really bad in there. He told me he hasn't seen that many maggots in one place before, and I think it irritated him that, when he poured bleach all over, they just swimmed in it (I can see how that would appear that they're taunting you).

    He went in, and finished cleaning up a little more (he says there's still quite a bit more)...Afterwards, he told us that:
    -It was bigger than a cat. MUCH bigger.
    -It's fur was a whitish-brown.
    -It had completely rotted away (it was really really hot yesterday, and my dad thinks it might've decompsed due to the extra heat)
    -There was a big one and 10-14 smaller ones. My dad said the big one had a very large skeleton, probably about 2 and a half feet from tail to nose...he didn't say much about the smaller ones)
    -There was a TON of fur, though this was obvious from how much he was cleaning
    -He doesn't want to eat dinner, and doesn't think he'll be able to anytime soon

    Now, we have absolutely no clue how it got in. The window of the crawlspace (We had originally used the crawlspace to store garden supplies) was boarded up, and the door that went into the crawlspace that we'd used was padlocked...We've got absolutely no clue, though we think it might've gotten through by going under our porch and forcing parts of the wall apart (The metal there is bent, and it was straight before...looks sorta like it was scratched at, but it doesn't make sense...). There are also quite a bit of droppings all over the inside of the crawlspace...

    Apparently, opossums are a huge problem in the city of Chicago (This was told to us by whoever's in charge of animal control). We're confused about the whole thing...We don't know if it got under there and had babies and got stuck, or if it had been living there for a while but came back to have its children, or what...it's all very confusing, and, hopefully, we'll have it sorted out soon.

    So yeah, sorry for the long-winded post...

    Has anyone else had problems similar to this with wild animals (be they opossum or otherwise)?
  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio

    interesting read, bump

  3. Crazy story!

    I've only seen an opossum up close and personal once - it was a couple years ago. I was at track practice and the opossum was on the edge of the football field hissing at the team as we ran by. Naturally, everyone kind of backed off, fearing that it might be rabid...we ran on the road that day. :smug:

    Definitely one of the ugliest critters I have every seen in my life.
  4. They don't look very attractive from pictures I've seen! :p Didn't really get a chance to look at it, and we're going to see if we can't figure out how it got in. It's really really odd...I'm sorta curious as to whether or not it was the mate (and it's children, the children of) the opossum our neighbor found. :meh:
  5. They look even worse in person when they're hissing at you! Like rat with fangs...only uglier. And that tail...hideous! :p

    It could be that the two were mates; you could try looking up some info on their mating habits. If they generally don't stray too far from their mates, then more than likely the two in your area were well acquainted. ;)
  6. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Possums are all over the place out here in So. Cal. I had one get into a storage cabinet in my garage a few months ago. When I found him, he was very much alive. I shooed it into my trap with a golf club and let it go out by the railroad tracks. Raccoons will get into houses too; they will actually peel up roof shingles to get into the attic and have their litter of pups in the insulation. The last 'coon I trapped had evidence of fiberglass rash on it's feet and legs, so it was probably living in someone's attic. Raccoons can be quite destructive and they will kill and eat just about anything. Possums are not quite as destructive, but both of these urban pests can be carriers of several diseases.

  7. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    that is a perfect description , for anyone who hasn't actually seen
    one of these up close ...

    they are quite common here in san antonio , and i've had to deal with them many , many times .
    nasty , hissing creatures , that will indeed bite the hell out of you if you aren't careful .
    fangs are about 1/2" to 1" long ...
    { i wear heavy leather gloves whenever i have to pick one of them up . }

    my real problem here is with skunks , but i guess thats another story ...
  8. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    A long time ago when I was renting in Troy, MI I had run-ins with oppossum's all the time. Especially walkin' the dog. Same old thing: We'd see one, the dog would run up on it, I'd shoo the dog away and the oppossum would flop. It was always kinda funny.

    After my wife and I moved into our Ferndale home, we took a vacation out west where I saw my first badger running accross a Wyoming road. We came home to a HUGE/DEEP hole in our backyard. Our neighbor Carl (at the time 89yrs. RIP) said: "...that's a badger hole". Yeah right I said. A day later, as I was lookin' out at the mystery hole, I saw a flat furry face with those beady badger eyes lookin' back at me. Ferndale animal control wouldn't touch it. Nor would the Detroit Zoo just up the street. I flooded the hole a few times, and eventually he went away. A few neighborhood cats went missing. The badger made the paper. Before we got him out of our yard, he'd work on his hole while we drove in and out of the driveway, mocking almost, daring us to try and start something knowing that he would kick butt. Kinda cool/kinda funny really.
  9. Well, it weren't no possum! Wrong color fur, wrong size, wrong litter count. If you had a possum that went 18 inches from nose to haunch, you'd be looking at a monster! They are marsupials so the litter count was about 4 times what you would expect to see from a mamma. And possums are usually in the white to grey to blackish ranges and nothing that could even be remotely described as furry. Their hair is rather sparselike - you can sort of see their pinkish/white skin through the fur. And another thing, you wouldn't have mistaken the skull for anything else. The eye sockets and fangs are notable in their size in relation to the rest of the bones.

    I think you got some sort of dog there. It would be easy enought to tell from the skull. It sounds as if it was pregnant and sick and knew it. Died during birth in isolation and the babies went with it. Prettly common behaviour in dogs.
  10. Here where I live we rarely see any opossum because of the amount of coyote we have.. The coyote here are agressive and will attack a large dog. When I lived near down town San Diego I saw more wild cridders than I see here in the country.. I hear that this going to be a big rattle snake year here in Low Cal.
  11. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    Possums get pretty big dude.

  12. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    the possums here are typically about 18" to 24" .
    nasty gray/white/tan color , not completely covered in fur ,
    with a long rat like tail ...
    {i don't know for sure about the size of litters ,
    but i have counted up to four pups at a time ...}

    i've never really come across the "playing possum" type ,
    these usually are in the fight or flight mode ...
  13. They are including the tail in that measurement. You show me a 3 foot long possum and I'll show you a forest that has sabre tooth tigers. :D
  14. Ooops forgot about Texas! Everythings bigger in Texas. The Florida possums are smaller - certainly under 18".

    Yeah, I've never seen one act like that either. For once I wish one would choose that instead of bowing up. It's the armadillos that will play dead - you know them - possums "on-the-half-shell" ;)
  15. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
  16. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    Did it look like this, only much more dead?
  17. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    Yet, less dead than this??
  18. Look, I'm not arguing that there aren't big possums nearly everywhere on occasion. That link quoted a range in nature. It would be like me saying human adults can range from 3' to 9' in height. We do grow that big and small, of course, but not in any great numbers. The telling figures in that link are the average weights of 2 and 5 lbs. I would suggest that most of animals any of us see would fall into these ranges.
  19. hmm...so what was it?
  20. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Opossums are pretty easy to take care of seeing are they are pretty slow and not as agressive as something like a raccon. Also, usually the "playing possum" follows an injury to the opossum. Like if you hit it with a shovel, it will lie motionless to try and fool you.

    Everyone should research the nutrea, they are a huge menace to the canal areas around New Orleans and I imagine the rest of the state as well.