An Opossum in our BBQ!
(Burlington, Ontario, Canada)
Did we wake you?
While my husband and I were on vacation this July, my son went out to barbecue some supper one evening and saw two beady eyes staring up at him from beneath the BBQ grill. After recovering from his initial shock, he snapped a photo of it with his cell phone and then "googled" look-a-like creatures until he figured out what it was (as you will see from the attached photo of the snoozing possum buried in its nest of leaves, it is difficult to make out its exact form).
Learning that when afraid and cornered a possum is likely to become aggressive, my son tried banging with a stick -- a very long stick -- on the BBQ cover and sides, to encourage the creature to vacate the premises.
After several attempts, the possum finally scuttled out the back of the BBQ and ran off behind our shed. My son promptly cleaned out the nest the possum had made in the BBQ and proceeded to cook his dinner. Guess he was hungry.
A week or so later, after my husband and I had arrived home, we were out pruning a tree-gone-haywire in the back yard. I joked that maybe the possum was still in the BBQ and, when my husband checked, there it was, nestled in under the grill again, resting comfortably. Of course, I screamed (rat-like creatures, no matter how furry, have never been my favourite) and ran up the stairs to the back door.
My husband tried my son's banging technique without success, but managed to send the possum running by tipping over the grease-catching tray in which he or she had built a funky (in all senses of the word), little home. As the possum ran under the deck, I quickly snapped the photo you see here, screeching in terror all the while. My husband checked under the deck, but it appears that the frightened creature -- the possum, not my husband! :) -- had escaped under the fence -- thank God!
Petey-the-Possum (Hey, he's built his nest twice in our BBQ so far, so we're definitely neighbours, if not yet family! Might as well have a name.) was about 13 inches long, not counting his rubbery-looking tail, and mostly grey in colour with a white snout (nose?) and black ears. Apparently, a rarely used BBQ with a rarely cleaned grease-catcher is heaven to an opossum.
They say "third time's a charm." It won't be for me if Petey returns. Nothing personal, Petey, but I prefer viewing my wildlife from afar. Thank you for sending this report of your Possum sighting - I hope Petey finds somewhere sheltered for the winter - but not your BBQ!