The small possum Petit Pogo of Provence-sur-la-Prairie dines

|| 21 May 2017

Petit Pogo: Sad Update

My plan had been that in today’s Nouvelles I would update you on our little resident possum/opossum Petit Pogo. He had been growing: becoming more active and muscular, especially that prehensile opossum tail. Petit Pogo had also become more adventurous in exploring the property and its trees. Such fun to watch his positive progress.

But this is tornado season. Thursday the sultry mid-day feel of the air, backed by the weather forecast, suggested late afternoon we might have severe storms with possible tornadoes. In fact, late afternoon a friend phoned to say there was a tornado on the ground not far outside town. Very soon the trees were thrashing with strong winds. Thunder rumbled. Lighting lit the sky. Rain began to fall. Online I tracked the storm on the radar.

Heavy rain fell throughout the evening. Nonetheless I put Petit Pogo’s food out in its usual spot on the back patio. Wednesday night he had come to eat late, at almost 10 PM. So I anticipated with the storm he would not venture out of the garage until after the rain slacked. When I checked Friday morning, his food appeared to be eaten. But in hindsight, I am sure that some other creature ate it during the night when Petit Pogo did not come to eat. (The same was the case with the his food I set out on Friday evening.)

Friday was a day of heavy rain, thunder and lightning. On Saturday when the sun came out, I began after-storm tidying of the garden. That was when I found Petit Pogo on the ground under the big cedars, between the privet hedge and the fence. Judging from his condition, I was sure that he had been in the tree when the storm hit on Thursday afternoon and had been blown out of the tree then.

Nature can be cruel to wildlife — particularly young wildlife. (I had buried a dead blown-from-the-nest white wing dove just before I found Petit Pogo.) If Petit Pogo’s mother had still been alive, she likely would have recognized signs of approaching storm and lead Petit Pogo back to safety in the garage. But he stayed in the tree. And, as his mother, Petit Pogo died in a fall.

The cats and I are feeling sad. We miss our little friend.

|| 6 April 2017

Petit Pogo: Provence-sur-la-Prairie Possum

When the Provence-sur-la-Prairie resident possum perished in an accident mid-March, she left behind a small baby possum. I am happy to report that Petit Pogo is doing well.

He had been coming with his mother to the back patio. So he knew where the possum food was located. He had even been nibbling. (And mostly making a mess.) It was quickly evident that, like kittens, the little orphaned possum needed the small catfood nuggets moistened.

I also added canned catfood. And, in an effort to keep the cats out of Petit Pogo’s food, I added cooked millet. How was I to know that I have a big tomcat who laps up cooked millet like it was a dish of cream? At least when the millet is well mixed with other types of catfood. So now I have to set out two dishes of catfood with cooked millet. The one evening I left out the millet, Petit Pogo went all over the patio searching for a dish with millet.

Petit Pogo, like his mother, doesn’t really know he is a possum. He thinks he is a cat. When his mother was about a month older than Petit Pogo is now, her mother was hit by a car. My cats befriended the little possum, and she continued to live and grew up with them in my old detached garage. Sam, the tomcat, who thinks he runs the place, is now looking after Petit Pogo’s welfare. As am I. So, as I said, the little possum orphan is doing well.

I am happy to have possums on the property. They help the cats eradicate any rats lured by our alley refuse dumpsters. Also, possums have been found to have a natural immunity to rattlesnake venom. Last fall, the city was infected with those poisonous snakes. I have not seen evidence of rattlesnakes on my property. I credit this to the neighborhood cats and possums.

Petit Pogo is too small to fight rattlesnakes this spring. But he is growing. Just wait until next year.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

Image : Petit Pogo of Provence-sur-la-Praire eating his supper of catfood and cooked millet. His usual eating spot is marked by a rusty circle left by the previous owner's patio planter.