Disposing possum carcass

Just the post you were expecting, right? Oh, the joys of living. You never know when you wake up one day and see a possum first thing in the morning. In a dead state. More specifically, in a torn apart state.

My first thought as I saw it through the window, was denial. Couldn’t be a possum, could it? Looks like a big old tree bark to me. It was lying away from the window and I blame my non-existent eyesight. On closer inspection, though, it was confirmed that it was indeed a possum, just the half of it. And I was immediately overcome by grief.

This is the point, where I tell you about our connection. I have never met the possum in person. Never looked into its deep brown eyes to make a connection. But I sure had made a connection in my own way. I had gotten used to the loud thumps from the roof when it walked at night. I have fondly looked up from whatever I was doing and smiled. It was a part of our house. We are going to miss the noise at night. Rest in peace mate.

I spent the first part of my day speculating possible causes for its death. Looking at the mauling, there wasn’t a doubt that this was an attack. But what did it? May be a bigger possum or a cat?

As the day progressed (with not many chores done), very soon all my thoughts were replaced by “how the hell am I going to get it off my lawn and dispose it?”. I had no idea if I was supposed to call someone to pick it up.

Was it a biohazard? May be.

Could I let it to rot? May be not. The smell would be putrid and absolutely disgusting.

Was there a proper way to dispose dead animals that are not pets? May be.

Bury it? May be not. Rented property.

At times like this I turn to my trusted old friend for suggestions. Google didn’t disappoint. There were questions on the web for exactly this type of scenario. And answers varied from “eat it” to “chuck it to your neighbour’s yard” to “bin it”. After snorting for a bit (on the responses, not the dead animals),I decided to get serious and call up the council of Monash (as no details were available on their web site).

Guess what? They told me what I already knew from Google. Not to eat it or throw it to the neighbour, but to bin it. Looks like they get at least one phone call like mine in a week. It would be a good idea for them to include the information on their site.

Now, time for some action. I waited till my daughter’s nap time and sneaked out with my gathered supply of a pair of kitchen gloves, two garbage bags and a lot of junk mail catalogues/brochures. Knowing fresh clean air would soon become scarce, I took a deep breath and put my gloves (and big girl panties) on.

I started assessing various angles which would be best to gather the huge part in one go. Yes there were more than one parts. Like I said, sweet life.

I gritted my teeth, squatted and held its forelimbs by a junk mail catalogue and hauled it up a bit. Heavier than I thought. But in went a part of it into the bag. I pulled the rest of it in, by lifting the bag. Relief. By now I was shaking like a leaf.

After putting the bits and pieces that had spread around I finally tied the bag shut. Put it in another bag, threw in all the brochures and binned it. The gloves as well.

As I came in after washing my hands thoroughly (just short of scrubbing them raw), I saw that it was 1:30pm and my appetite had vanished. It was probably with the spirit of our dead possum.

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4 thoughts on “Disposing possum carcass

  1. Oh my goodness! I dread the day I wake up to a similar situation, but I hope I too can put my ‘Big Girl Panties’ on and deal with it as well as you did. I hope the rest of your day went a little better 🙂

  2. There has been more than one occasion where the corpse of an animal has appeared on the property here. Possum, rabbit, bird, possum, possum, bandicoot. Mercifully these tend to be whole, dispatched by foul weather or otherwise Reasons Unknown (the bandicoot drowned in our little fountain). My technique has been to pick up the deceased using a plastic shopping bag which I then turn inside out to hold the body. After tying the top, another bag is used and tied to seal off, before being semi-ceremoniously placed in the bin. Family member is too distressed to do it themselves, so I have become de-facto mortician for the wildlife here. Only once we’ve had a possum arrive alive but critically injured after coming off second-best with a car. A call to WIRES had us taking him to a nearby veterinarian for treatment. Sadly he was euthenased after it became apparent his spine was snapped. That caused me more distress than anything else. They are our companions, our friends and neighbours, and to lose them can be quite emotional.

    • Thanks Rob for sharing your own experiences. I’m pretty good with handling/killing small pests. Possums are big animals. And handling dead bodies is definitely not for the faint hearted. But as you said it caused me some pain as well because we considered it our friend.

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