Make Like an Opossum and Die

I want to take the opportunity this morning to revel in the fact that where I used to live, aka “down south” they are getting snow today.  And I, in the frozen, quasi-Canadian tundra, am not.  Not.  Not.  Not. HA.

The view outside my window this morning is glorious.  There is fluffy snow still resting on the pine boughs since it fell yesterday, and it is shimmering from the reflection of a bright, beautiful sun.  It’s really something.  Here, I’ll show you. 

As I walked out to take this picture, I startled at least 3 woodpeckers busy probing the birch trees surrounding the cabin.  They quickly resumed the daily grind after they realized that I’m, well… me.  I’m only a threat to myself – a reality that is apparently clear, even to wildlife.

Speaking of threats, yesterday I was driving back to our cabin when I did what C and I do about 75% of the time.  I passed our street.  I don’t know what makes it so easy to do, but it seems increasingly pathetic when you consider that there can’t be more than five streets on the southern side that intersect with our main road. 

For another 30 miles.

Alas, I have done my service to lower the general IQ by missing our road again yesterday.  But, because I did so, I was able to have a nice run-in with the local law enforcement.  No, not the police.  A moose.  He was not too old, and was probably going through his first winter up here, just like me.   He was standing parallel to the double yellows, which means that I almost didn’t see his scrawny haunches, but luckily, the car driving opposite of me had their flashers on.  So our friend stands awkwardly in the road for a while and does some circles.  Then, things get a little more interesting.  He starts to walk to my car.   Awkward, clumsy, lumbering – moose do not seem intellectually formidable, however - I caution you -  they are still massive animals.  This young fellow was the size of a horse.  A horse who was coming to visit.  He got probably fifteen to twenty feet away from the car, with his ears buzzing around like antennae, then he finally jaunted off into the woods, post-holing the entire way.  Poor thing.

Anyway, I want to share with you some guidelines for fending off a moose attack.  Clearly, I was not in danger yesterday, but should you find yourself taking pictures of a trophy male on the highway or walking the woods during mating season, this could be very valuable information.

Here’s how you know that you are facing an aggressing moose:

Is it walking toward you?  Is it stomping it’s feet and pulling those antennae ears back?  What noise is it making?  Grunting?  (Bad news for you.)  Is it throwing its head back and forth?

If you answered yes, you better get right with God.   And in your car.

Now what?  Like you would if you faced many other wild animals, authorities say that you should back away slowly and put something large between yourself and the moose.  Moose will charge like a bear or a mountain goat (I’m guessing), so shielding yourself is the first essential move.  If you’re still in your car, get the heck out of the way or call your auto body to schedule a new paint job.  You’re going to need it.

But here are my two favorite pieces of information.  If you are faced with a near ¾ ton, seven-foot moose with a five-foot rack, the best way to defend yourself is to speak softly to it, like you would your 3 year-old niece.  That’s right - babytalk it out of maiming you.  Also, you should fake death by curling your body into a tiny (or not so tiny) ball, and become what common sense would tell you is an animal plaything. Try and be wearing a backpack for extra cushion, and cover your head if you have the wherewithal to remember.  You’ve become a human soccer ball with a Tammy-talks-a-lot voice.  And this is supposed to save you.

Knowing myself, if I were faced with this danger, I would only panic.  Remembering something about feigning death and fooling the animal, I’d roll over onto the ground and make like an opossum – mouth open, tongue out, eyes rolled back, limbs flailed – and be slaughtered by a vegetarian.  What a miserable way to go. 


When you decide to visit, please bring this information with you, preferably on a cue card nestled on your dashboard.  You may come to need it, and when you do, I don’t want to have to drive out on the new snowmobile and drag your carcass off the road.  I’m not ready to ride that thing yet. 

And sister, please enjoy the snow today. 

I’m pretty sure it will be here tomorrow.


  1. What happens if you just stand there, frozen in terror? I'm sure "M blogged about this. What the hell did she say? Where the hell is that cue card?" LOL

  2. Is that really what possums do? I'm totally going to scare the crap out of the one at our house now and get a picture. You'll know it's real because it will be laying on pretend wood that costs $800 a board. I'll send it to you for future possum references in your delightful blog

  3. Deb - it should be a BIG cue card. Greg - The picture is accurate, but it understates how monstrous they look. I'd love to have the most expensive possum reference on the web. Please do send it.


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