An Australian Verandah Possum called Vera

We couldn’t just keep calling her ‘possum’ after the bonding incident a couple of days ago. Before that we didn’t know ‘she’ was a she at all. I had an aunt called Vera. It’s not a name that has enjoyed renewed popularity, but I thought it went well with ‘verandah’, so Vera she is.

Regular readers (ahem) will remember my discovery, nearly 4 weeks ago, of the possum on top of my Art supplies cupboard. Irregular readers may like to scroll back.

Anyway, two days ago I was making myself a ‘nice hot cup of tea’ in the kitchen, as Australian and British women of my vintage are wont to do, when I heard loud banging coming from the verandah. I went out to investigate and found my son Jeremy stamping at the cupboard possum who, he said, had been making aggressive moves towards him (later we decided she might have actually been seeking his help). Possums have been known to run up people’s bodies, leaving nasty scratches, so I understood his concern.

To me, the possum wasn’t looking so much aggressive as frantic. Now it’s fairly unusual for a possum to be up and about in the daytime, so I wondered what was wrong. I asked her what was wrong, but she just ran around in desperate circles. Then we heard little squeaky noises, but couldn’t place exactly where they were coming from. We surmised immediately that our cupboard possum was a mother, and that her baby had fallen off the cupboard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be sure whether the baby had fallen behind the cupboard or amongst the assortment of materials I had stored in the gap between cupboard and wall.

While the mother possum ran wildly around the verandah, along beams and railings, looking for her baby, I began gently removing the stuff beside the cupboard. And there was the tiny, almost hairless creature, cinging to a foldup chair.

We tried to show the mother where her baby was, but she clambered back up on top of the cupboard. So Jeremy tenderly picked up the baby and handed it back to her. She had a devil of a job getting it back into her pouch for it clung to her frantically, upside down around her neck, with its hind legs around her face.

It suddenly occurred to me to get my camera but alas, when I returned, the baby was safely back in the pouch and mother possum settled in her usual place behind the containers.

That night I left parsley and apple out for Vera. She wouldn’t come down while I was standing there (armed with camera this time), so I retreated inside my studio. Later I saw her through the glass door, thoughtfully nibbling on the apple. The parsley had disappeared. She loves parsley … devours my parsley plants every time I forget to cover them with netting.

She wasn’t on top of the cupboard the next day. And she hasn’t been back since. She often goes missing for a few days at a time so it’s not unusual. I can’t help but wonder though, if she hasn’t decided the top of the cupboard is no longer a safe place for her baby.

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