I have a possum who lives under my bath. Strange but true. Here is his* tale.
I live in a Queenslander style house - highset, verandah out front, tin roof, 11ft ceilings, VJ walls, wood stove, not built in underneath, cement laundry tubs under the house...you get the picture. Built about 70 years ago it was the original farmhouse for this area - back in a time before suburbia crept in and built ugly brick houses and industrial sheds - when it was a productive peanut farm. I digress.
So in our home (in our bathroom to be exact) we have a bath - a big, cold, metal bath that I reckon would weigh a tonne. Where the waste water pipe (you know, from the plug hole) comes out through the floor there is a hole a bit bigger than the pipe itself that opens to the under-bath cavity (I don't know what it's called but that sounds good enough to me). On any given day I would say that this small aperture would not be nearly big enough to fit a possum - certainly not a full-grown one. Clearly, I am wrong.
How do I know there is a possum living under our bath? I saw him. And I nearly died of fright when I did.
For a number of nights we had been woken by noises from under the bath - incessant scratching that was driving me crazy. No amount of wall kicking at 2am would silence it. So the next day I decided to try to figure out what was in there making all that noise. I had my suspicions and was prepared to implement some pretty efficient pest control measures to ensure all nocturnal scratchings stopped for good.
So I went under the house and tried to peer up through the small hole around the bath pipe. I had a torch and long stick - I was well armed. I poked and prodded and shone that torch like there was no tomorrow. Couldn't see a thing. When I finally stopped, ready to call it quits.....a whiskered nose slowly poked itself out of the hole. I. Shit. Myself. I didn't scream which was admirable. But I did swear. A lot.
Once I'd calmed down I realised that somehow Mr Poss had got through that small hole to get in but couldn't get out - hence all the scratching. I managed to wrangle out a smallish board around the pipe to make the hole bigger all the time imagining the Love of My Life coming home to find me lying beneath the bath that had crashed through the floor because the support structure had been compromised. Overcautious or overactive imagination? You be the judge. Anyway, I left it at that thinking that, possums being nocturnal, this little fella wasn't going to venture out anytime soon and I'd just come back tomorrow to block the hole.
But Mr Poss had other plans.
Sure enough, he came out that night - we heard him scampering up the drainpipe outside our bedroom window and then ker-thumping across the verandah roof. But he came back. At 3am. Straight back to beneath the bath.
That was about 6 months ago. He hasn't moved out. He keeps to himself during the day and doesn't encroach on my living space or eat my food in my fridge so he's a good tenant in that respect. But he doesn't pay any rent and has no respect for other people's sleeping times, coming in at all hours making all sorts of racket.
I guess you can't win them all.
I'm just hoping that soon he will meet a Miss Poss and move into her pad. Then we can close up the hole and be done with it.....
* I am assuming it is a 'he' possum. I'm no possum whisperer but the number of consecutive nights he stumbles home across the roof and then falls from the downpipe into the mulch under the tree - clearly an indication of going a bit too hard on the fermented fruit at the local possum hangout - no 'she' possum would do that.