Wild Kingdom

We had feral cat kittens last year. We did all the Right Things – we handled the kittens, we took the mommas to KittiCo to get fixed, we placed ten of the eleven kittens, and we kept one. We started leaving food out on the back porch for the momma kitties – because it didn’t seem right to make them starve. We’ve had the occasional neighborhood tom show up and steal some, but mostly it’s worked out.

Or so we thought. We’ve seen this guy once before, but last night we got a good picture of him:

Didelphis virginiana, the Virginia Opossum. America’s only marsupial.

He sat there quite unconcerned, drinking his fill while we watched, and then waddled off into the night.

Then, this morning when Chis got up at 5:30, we saw this:

Proycon lotor, the American Raccoon.

You can’t see the water dish, because he’s leaning over it – he would go back and forth, washing each piece of cat food.

We don’t live in the country, y’all.

0 replies
  1. bronxelf_ag001
    bronxelf_ag001 says:

    Just for the sake of information, Raccoons and Opossum are common (as well as as skunk for that matter) in my neighborhood.

    If you compare your neck of the proverbial woods to mine? You are IN the proverbial woods. But both raccoons and opossums are very, very successful urban animals, and do quite well in cities. Food is plentiful and predators are nonexistent.

  2. admin
    admin says:

    Oh, I know. We’ve got lots of squirrels, and I’ve seen skunks too… we just don’t see coons and possums in the yard much. I guess it mostly amuses me because I grew up in a mostly wooded subdivision that *was* more in the country, and we still didn’t see ’em on the back porch like this. Out by the fence on the big acre lot, yes… but not close to the house.

  3. mys_ebrel
    mys_ebrel says:

    we also have outdoor cats and almost every night we get the same nocturnals as you. This year earlier in the spring we had a baby opossom that was adorable and we got to watch her grow (by how much catfood she ate!) I named her Ophelia but for all I know it could have been a boy 😉

    I enjoy all animals so I liked them coming just as long as they didn’t rumble with the vaccinated cats.

  4. pinkveneer
    pinkveneer says:

    reminds me of my similar experience, also in the city. our cats got along with all the raccoons + possums, but then a new cat figured out the scheme and started beating up our guys. so i had an evil plan to trap the cat in a friendly cage and have him neutered etc. he was too smart for that, but a raccoon got trapped in there instead. the animal control guy was not too happy with me when i asked him to come over to open the cage for me…

  5. mistressannie
    mistressannie says:

    I live near Marsh and Frankford. Not exactly the sticks. I was walking my dog one night and saw a coyote digging through the trash. I saw him the next night running around in the apt parking lot. That freaked me out worse than any opossum or raccoon I’ve seen ( we get plenty of those too ).

  6. shadoweave
    shadoweave says:

    I live in San Francisco – not a suburb – in the city. Once night a few years back we caught this guy on our back stairs.

    I’d been wondering why we hadn’t seen any snails in the back yard for awhile.

  7. greeneyedpagan
    greeneyedpagan says:

    I used to feed quite a few ferals on the patio myself. At one point, when there were probably 5 or 6 grown cats and 2 litters of babies, I looked out there one night and saw several babies and 1 opossum, all eating peacefully out of the same dish. The opossum was young, like the one in your picture, and the cats were not bothered at all. It was very Disney-like, or maybe Pixar-like! Right now I am down to 1 feral, who I am trying like crazy to get to quit hissing at me when I give her her dinner. One day…

  8. paroxytone
    paroxytone says:

    Well, cats can take care of themselves well without food being set out ;).

    I saw a possum saunter by my front steps one night as I was out having a smoke. It passed by like I wasn’t there. I don’t care for raccoons at all, and if people didn’t put food out, we wouldn’t have them here (our garbage cans are huge with lids too heavy for them to get into). They also carry roundworm and a 3 year old got infected by it after ingesting the eggs. Our most commonly noticed animal here are skunks, and my favorite sighting was a litter of grey fox pups who poked their heads out to look at me when I drove by their den once. I also see deer and wild turkeys all the time too.

  9. labrys6
    labrys6 says:

    How nifty that you got photos. We have both possums and raccoons around in our suburbanized rural setting here. It was very rural when we moved in 22 years ago…alas, the only “rural” left is the wildlife that lingers.

  10. txtriffidranch
    txtriffidranch says:

    I don’t have any problems with the opossums on my porch (Harold came back over the weekend), but I’m very glad that the bars on the gate on the back porch are too narrow for a full-grown raccoon to get inside. I had to deal with raccoon temper tantrums when I was trapped in Portland, and I learned from experience that if the raccoons are coming, the hipsters are sure to follow.

  11. txtriffidranch
    txtriffidranch says:

    You say that the predators are nonexistent. Unfortunately for Harold and his ilk, we have red-tailed and Harris hawks during the day (and the Harris hawks hunt in flocks, so they’re particularly effective) and screech and great horned owls at night. The Czarina and I were strafed a few months back by a great horned that was big enough to fly off with a Volkswagen, and she found a great horned nest that had blown out of a tree after the hatchlings had fledged about three months before. I won’t even get into the red foxes, grey foxes, and coyotes that I’ve spotted in my immediate vicinity at night (with the red foxes literally sitting on the side of the road next to a very popular Dallas shopping mall), and I live closer to downtown Dallas than our host does.

  12. bronxelf_ag001
    bronxelf_ag001 says:

    Well I meant here- we do have birds of prey here, for sure, but not flock hunters. 🙂

    There’s NOTHING stopping these fuzzy creatures save the occasional NYC taxi.

  13. tilia_tomentosa
    tilia_tomentosa says:

    Wow, great pics! I LOVE your “visitors”! You are lucky, we have no such animals here in Bulgaria. And I live in a VERY urban environment, so I don’t see any local wildlife near my home…apart from the field-mice that still live in the area, LOL!

  14. batbuds
    batbuds says:

    LOL… I live west of you in suburban Arlington… no where near a park or anything… I was cleaning out our storage shed last year when I noticed a opposum huddled in the back corner… she was not aggressive, just kept real still…

    I set a live trap, took her a few miles away to a rural area between Arlington and HEB and let her go… she saundered off just as calm as could be…

    Then I did some research and it turns out opposums are good to have around… as they are a predator to mice and rats and snakes… apparently cats and opposums get along famously and will even share a food bowl side by side… who knew..

    anyway, nature is always fun to watch… I think we could all take a lesson from them every now and again!


  15. admin
    admin says:

    Yeah – I was surprised and amused to see that Momma Kitty (one of the feral Yard Cats) was just sitting and watching the possum drink.

  16. not_justagirl
    not_justagirl says:

    *laughs* when I did live in the “wilderness” (pop 9000, 45 minutes through forest to the next town) we didn’t have small animals… no raccoons or squirels in the town… bears, moose, yes… raccoons… nope!

    I think it’s awesome what you’re doing for the mommas and their babies!!! You rock!

  17. supersniffles
    supersniffles says:

    When I worked in Scott’s Valley (Near Santa Cruz) I used to have baby skunks come sniff my toes while I was outside at 3am smoking. I used to talk quietly to them as they came up so they would know I was alive and not startle when I moved. They were completely fearless!

  18. hatchepsut
    hatchepsut says:

    You don’t have to be in the country!

    we have opossum and racoons in Chicago.
    our opossums typically look mangier and a little more worn then yours.
    our racoons look about the same, but ten times fatter.

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    blog award

    Hi, Michael, Sounds like your neighborhood has the same sort of wildlife mine does. Always some critter or other showing up unannounced and usually uninvited. When you have a chance, check my blog where you’ll find a small gift (although it comes with a task…) Cheers, Sandra

  20. malvoisine
    malvoisine says:

    I had to laugh when I saw this. My mom used to live in a townhouse complex in Houston. They had an 80-ish woman who was a problem – she spent a huge chunk of money leaving food out for the all the poor starving kitties. My mom had to leave work pre-dawn for a conference one morning only to discover that ‘those poor skinny cats’ were mostly possums!

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