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A Possum's Tale

Part two of Murder in the Bamboo Forest

I told my friend Joe about the stange find of an animal hanging in the black bamboo. He said, that's not a rat. It's a possum. Possums, he said, hang by their tails when they sleep. I said, it's not as big as a possum. It's exactly the size of a rat. But he said that possums like everybody else start small and get bigger. True.

I googled the possums, and it turns out it's a wives' tale that they hang by their tails when they sleep. BUT! They do use their tails when they climb, and a young possum can hang by its tail for a short while.

We called in an expert witness over the weekend and got a positive ID on the victim, now known to be a young possum, Didelphis Marsupialis. Who killed him?

Possum in the bamboo

Norma’s dogs were cleared in the preliminary investigation as they had no opportunity to commit the crime: they are fenced out of the area where the body was found. It was also considered doubtful that they have the means to hang a possum by its tail seven feet off the ground.

To me, the bent-over cane next to the body suggested a climbing animal with a bit of weight. This would make the raccoon or the ringtailed cat a prime suspect.

But would a coon or ringtail climb up, murder the possum in his sleep, and leave the body hanging there? I was doubtful. I didn't think a coon or a ringtail would attack or kill a possum, but if they did, or if they found a dead one, they would probably eat it. Wouldn't they? As a murder, the crime made no sense.

Craig said it could have been suicide or death by misadventure. Maybe he fell and his tail got tangled and he was stuck there. Or maybe he was pushed. Maybe the crime was committed somewhere else. The mystery deepens.

Continue: Update on the Death of a Possum

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History | Dogs | Home | Food | Garden

The Resident The Year of the
NIGHT ANIMALS

The Year of the Night Animals
Night Animals
Night Animals by Day
Murder in the Bamboo Forest
Possum’s Tale
Death of a Possum
Remains of an Owl
Dark Adventures
Close to Home
The Resident
The Last Tomato
The Resident Revealed
Squirrel Business
Snakes and Frogs
Garter Snake
Mystery Bird
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Hawk vs. Dove
Raccoon in the Garden
Midsummer Nights
Animals We Live With
Not Animals