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First Varmint

November 4, 2010
by

We have our first varmint in BAB.

Last night I was waiting for the delivery of a (free) pallet of ceramic tiles (possible future post) and after I was done unloading the delivery truck, I had to stay a bit later and take some measurements for our electrician. By the time I was finished and ready to leave, it was close to 8:00 and darkness had fallen.

I was walking coming up the stairs to the (dark) second floor, the streetlamps barely lighting the space, when I heard scittering in the southeast corner – over by the 55-gallon drum of floor cleaning soap. I whipped my head and saw a large rat-shaped silhouette scampering away.

While some of you may run AWAY, I quickly ran TOWARDS it to chase it down and see what it was.  As soon as I got near enough to identify the species – no fear needed – it was a young opossum – but still the size of a big city rat.

The next 15 minutes was a crazy chase; I didn’t want to kill it but needed to safely capture it. What to use, what to use? Buckets! We have lots of buckets! But first to corner him somewhere.

Not an easy task. He ran under our big green machine that was a print dryer. Then under a big table, then under some boards, then inside a stack of pallets that Darcy covered with cardboard to make a seating platform for the big party. (Sorry Darcy – I had to tear that apart to get to him.) Eventually he ran into a tiny storage closet that had a door I could close, allowing me to plan. First – get the bucket. Second – put on this leather gloves in case he wants to bite me. Third: open the door!

But he was gone.

I saw his tail sticking out of the wall next to a pipe. He was going vertical in the plumbing walls ala The Matrix! Well if you saw the movie – that’s when they’re discovered and bullets are flying. Having no gun (and not wanting to kill it) I started ripping off the crumbling fiberboard on my side of the wall.  Each time, his disappearing tail told me was going higher. I smashed the board to bits but couldn’t keep up with him. Dust was everywhere. The flashlight beam looked like a searchlight in a fog.

I settled down, took a breath.

RATS!

I’ll have to resort to setting a trap. Fortunately, we own a “have-a-heart” trap, so I pulled it out of storage. Dang – no bait! Wait, maybe there’s something in the refrigerator left over from when I had the guys over for card night back in the Spring. Yes! Someone brought Tostitos Southwest Ranch sauce!

I schmeared a blob onto the bait pan, and I even added a couple of soggy old chips that some dude dropped into the jar. (Nick!) Then set it and forget it. I texted Franco and warned him of our varmint. I went home.

Around noon today, Franco sends me this pic:

So ugly that they're cute.

Franco said that he’ll take the little guy and release him in the park. The park will be so much better than the dark and creepy BAB!

So do you call it “possum” or “opossum”? Some say it doesn’t matter, others say depends where you’re from. Needless to say, we don’t want EITHER! So now we’ve gotta figure out how it got inside so that we don’t step on another one in the middle of the night!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 10:04 pm

    I think every real renovation project involves some sort of run in with critters:
    http://homeisaprocess.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/animal-kingdom/

    I have to say I read your blog (after Sue “friended” me on FB), and have really enjoyed it. And– I’m grateful to FINALLY find someone with a larger, more overwhelming project than our own. Seriously, I’ve found that there’s a real paucity of good renovation/ building blogs out there– most people stop posting after a while (I’m guilty of that one), or their projects just aren’t all that interesting or well-represented. Or maybe they exist but I just haven’t found them yet!

    Anyway, you’ve got a hell of a project on your hands– good luck and I’ll look forward to reading about it.

    • Sue permalink
      January 26, 2011 2:34 pm

      Laura-
      Great to hear from you- and glad to hear that we aren’t the sole suffers of the ‘crazy old building project’ disorder! Your squirrel was much cuter than our opossum. We’ve offered that is anyone feels bad about their home renovation project, they should think of the BAB and feel relieved. Keeping up the blog has been therapeutic. We look at old posts and realize we actually have made some progress. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your posts!

  2. Stephen Scurletis permalink
    November 5, 2010 11:57 am

    So glad to hear you did a catch and release for the possum. I’ve done that with mice, and I, too, released them in a park.

    • Tom permalink
      November 5, 2010 1:38 pm

      Hopefully mice & possums do their part of the food chain in the park.
      (Naaaaaah, they’ll just eat the trash…)

      thanks Stephen

  3. November 5, 2010 7:47 am

    Great post…I felt like I was reading the inner city’s version of Mutual of Omaha’s: Wild Kingdom. By the way the photo looks like it is a Raccoon (size HAH) trap and that this varmint is huge not a baby! Is that a HAH rat trap or what? Whichever that animal has a somewhat sinister smile on his furry face, as if he knows something….

    • Tom permalink*
      November 5, 2010 9:33 am

      Ahhh yessss, Sunday nights… except, I was “Jim” and Marlin was off “watching”… AS USUAL!

      Sounds like you know your HAH traps. We had this one for catching squirrels at our old house. It’s a little tight for raccoons (we caught a couple) but can hold an opposum TWICE this guy’s size. (Yep – caught them too…) The little guy has been released into a park – hopefully he’ll be happier there and won’t come back. Thanks Jill!

  4. rick permalink
    November 4, 2010 4:08 pm

    down here in the south ( said with a REAL southern drawl ), they that call dinner !!!!

    i had one in my garage last year. stayed there the night ( they hide VERY WELL ), knocked over some paint cans in the middle of the night, chewed thru the wires on the sensors for the garage door, finally the next day got it into the open area, then kicked it out the door !!!

    • Tom permalink
      November 4, 2010 4:31 pm

      They’re NASTY aren’t they?!

  5. Sue permalink
    November 4, 2010 1:56 pm

    Technically not a varmint, there was a sparrow in the building last week. It apparently was living on the civil defense ration crackers from the tin that Tom opened up. It is clearly time to seal up the openings!

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