Sunday, 11 July 2010

Possum pee?

A tale of life in the country and associated dangers.

I love where we live. I love the hills and the grass; the wide skies and the clouds; the endless winds blowing the treetops and rattling the windows; the space for thought and dreams. I do not love the wildlife. Well, I love it in the abstract as part of the essential eco-system of which we are but a part, but I do not love it up close and personal. Animals, bugs of every description and size, snakes, birds, neighbours…all essential to the system, but not necessarily things with which I am comfortable.

Sitting quietly in my new desk chair (black, leather, swivelling), reading a description of the very exciting Germany-Uruguay football match that I had just watched, I waited for my weekend morning coffee that Mr Barista Blithe delivers to my hand. Called to the table, I stood up, walked away from my chair and heard the sound of running water.

Children all at table -- check.

None with agonised expressions -- check.

No horses near the house -- check.

Glasses of water and mugs of coffee -- all safe.

Desk chair -- being dripped on by the light fixture above! And dripped on by vile smelling brown fluid!!

I cannot describe my feelings of revulsion. Nor the amounts of paper towelling, rags and leather cleaner vigorously applied.

My first thought was possum pee. Maybe not your first thought, but you are probably not woken almost every morning by a possum landing on the roof above your bedroom and scrabbling across the roof to the tree on the other side. Thump, thump, scrabble, screech, silence -- my 5am wake up call.

Valiant Mr Blithe went up into ceiling space to investigate. Valiant Mr Blithe quickly returned. He doesn't think there is a possum up there, but our resident, and apparently large snake was quite interested in its visitor. Discretion being the better part of valour, he retired and quickly shut the ceiling access.

Could it be snake pee? Do snakes pee? Do I really want to know?


Vivi said...

Well, I'll tell you, whether you want to know or not. Not that I'm an expert in any way, except at doing a brief google search: Snakes do not pee. They excrete less liquid and more "urate crystals" according to Yahoo Answers and WikiAnswers and a couple blogs that also wonder about the same basic excretory function in non-mammals.

Which leaves the question, what did cause the icky flood? Might you have had a possum, that between evacuation and Mr. Blithe's visit, met its end inside said large snake?

Blithe said...

I'm pretty certain a carpet python, which is what we think it is, couldn't manage a possum. As for what caused the flood -- I'm still not sure. Some sources suggest that snake excreta can be fairly liquid at times. Not being, nor wanting to be an expert, I am a little puzzled as to what, if anything, to do.

I'm waiting for a snake remover to return my call to see what action to take. And glancing somewhat nervously overhead as I type.