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Archie and the Possum

Last weekend Archie took my car to a 21st birthday party that was a few hours from Sydney and out in the bush and where my car had to go along a lot of dirt roads.  He brought it back so filthy it is impossible to tell what colour the car is.  He said he’d clean it.

Waiting, waiting…

That's a gorgeous face

That’s a gorgeous face

But before he could do the right thing he needed the car again so he could go to the opening of a musical, somewhere about an hour from home.  As I was having a night in, I didn’t mind him taking the car but I did suggest he empty it first of the two swags, the pillows, the unnamed clothing items and Arabella’s ex-boyfriend’s shoes.

Waiting, waiting…

Look at the whiskers!  Ringtail possums are very cute.

Look at the whiskers! Ringtail possums are very cute.

Off he drove all dressed up in black tie with the swags, pillows, unnamed clothing items and that pair of shoes just about causing me a seizure.

At 1.30am we were doing what normal people do at 1.30am and that is sleeping when there was very loud knocking on the door, thumping even.  I knew it would be Archie.  Carl got up to let him in and I heard a voice say, ‘Forgot my keys’.  Standard.  He didn’t forget them, he just never takes them with him.

Yes, that is a hole in Archie's jeans.  I have told him I will buy him a new pair of jeans but he says, 'What's wrong with these?'

Yes, that is a hole in Archie’s jeans. I have told him I will buy him a new pair of jeans but he says, ‘What’s wrong with these?’

And then I heard something about someone being ‘a bloody bastard’ and other words where the only decipherable one was ‘possum’.

The next morning I’d forgotten all about the 1.30am intrusion and it wasn’t until lunchtime when I glanced at facebook and saw Archie’s latest status and I noticed there was a photo of a possum.  Beneath the photo it said, ‘Some bloody bastard ran over this poor little girl last night and didn’t even stop.  Set her up with some water, banana, dried fruit and a nice safe bed for the night.  She seems to be better this morning so I think I’ll take her down to my friends at the zoo to be looked at and hopefully get re-released. Gorgeous little thing.’

I made a comment.  I asked, ‘Is that animal somewhere in the house, Archie?’

Loving his new pet

Loving his new pet

Archie read my comment then came downstairs holding something very carefully which he’d thoughtfully wrapped in one of my pillow cases – nothing is off-limits.  He sat down on the couch and opened up the pillow case and there was a ringtail possum looking rather nervous.

‘Where did you get that?’

Checking out unfamiliar surroundings

Checking out unfamiliar surroundings

‘Mum; I was driving home last night and the car in front of me hit a possum and just kept on driving.  Didn’t even stop; the bastard.  I saw her just roll and tumble across the road then just lie there.  I pulled over as fast as I could and ran back to her and she wasn’t moving.  She must have been stunned.  Lucky I still had all that stuff in the boot of the car…’

Everything always works out for Archie.

‘…because I wrapped her in some clothing and brought her home’.

‘Where’s she been sleeping?’

‘In my room.  She’s drinking and eating; I think she’s fine.  But I’ll just take her off to the vet so she can be properly checked’.

An Australian marsupial

An Australian marsupial

But then the dogs, my hunting dogs, entered the room and they love the smell of possum.  And they weren’t too pleased that one was being patted and cuddled on ‘their’ couch.  Rosie gave the possum a bit of a sniff then turned her head away and refused to look.  Ruby’s behaviour, her act of spite brought on by a jealous rage, was much worse and I’ll spare you the details.

A ringtail possum is less vicious than the brush-tailed possum that like to live in roofs

A ringtail possum is less vicious than the brush-tailed possum that like to live in roofs

Anyway, after lots of cuddles from Archie, he put the possum back in the pillow case and took it up to the vet.  He was back not long after and said, ‘Mum, the vet says this is the luckiest possum in the world; it’s lost a nail and nothing else and still has all it’s reflexes and ability to climb trees’.

‘Great, then you can release it back into the wild’.

‘Mum, we’re actually becoming really good friends.  I think I’m going to keep her for a while’.

‘We can’t keep wild animals in the house, Archie, and just imagine if Ruby finds her’.

‘I’ll keep her for a little while and then I’ll take her back.  I think we’re bonding; she hasn’t bitten me.’

‘Just take her outside and let her climb up a tree’.

‘I can’t do that’.

‘Yes you can’.

‘No mum, she has to be released where I found her.  I’ll have to take your car to Epping and drop her back there’.

‘That’s half an hour away; she’ll be fine living here; take her outside’.

They don't have fur on the underside of their tails so they can better grip onto tree branches

They don’t have fur on the underside of their tails so they can better grip onto tree branches

But Archie didn’t do that, nor did he drive to Epping.  The possum is still here.  Yesterday he took it on an outing to the local cafe and showed it to the crowd of people queuing for coffees.  Today he’s taken it to the zoo, ‘just to be checked out’.

‘Please God, may the people in the zoo talk some sense into Archie.  We cannot keep a ringtail possum in our house’.

Thank you for your prayers.

This is why they're called 'ringtail' possums

This is why they’re called ‘ringtail’ possums

Update:  We’ve had a quick answer to prayer.  Archie is back from the zoo.  Minus the possum.  The possum is being x-rayed and thoroughly checked and when they know absolutely certainly that she is okay, they will drive her to Epping and she will be re-released.  Archie can now concentrate on the task at hand and that is to clean my car.  I’m saying three ‘hallelujahs’.

That's a jealous look if ever I saw one

That’s a jealous look if ever I saw one


Rosie thinks if she doesn't look at it, it doesn't exist.

Rosie thinks if she doesn’t look at it, it doesn’t exist.

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  1. OMG!! That is too funny – from you communicating via FB to Archie upstairs to the possum having a sleepover. I hope you got your car cleaned after all that?

  2. Danielle says:

    Aww, the possum is so cute, but I agree, you can’t really keep them inside. You’ve got a car that needs cleaning and is full of other people’s stuff, but what a kind, caring son you have raised 🙂 Love Rosie’s ‘not looking’!

  3. There is never a dull moment at your house Charlie! Good on Archie for stopping to rescue her, though, and good on the zoo for taking charge of where she ought to be – not in the house 😉

  4. That is hilarious! 🙂 Archie reminds me of one of my brothers – pure charm, pure forgetfulness, and everything ALWAYS works out in his favor. Cracks me up. 🙂

  5. Well I’m not sure that I would have rescued a possum from a drive-by accident…but I guess that shows Archie has a kind heart? (Trying to look on the bright side. :P)

  6. Awww, how cute!!!
    …and what a loveable son you have too 🙂

  7. Archie has a heart of gold … got to work on being practical though. Rosie is such a sweetie.

  8. He’s a kind hearted soul, your Archie. No way in hell would we have a possum in the house. 🙂

  9. I can only imagine!! I recognise that communication method, it’s really handy sometimes! GG

  10. Hahaha! Charlie – this is just too too funny!

  11. Bravo, Archie. Wise decision. I grew up with an otter that my brother found in similar circumstances. Although with special permission from the Game Commission, it still wasn’t a great idea to raise a wild animal in the house…but oh we loved him so and wow did he keep us entertained. I laughed trying to imagine exactly what Ruby’s act of spite was…

  12. Is it bad that the first thing I thought of was ew all those possum germs?! What a lucky possum to have Archie find her!

  13. Your Aussie possums are actually cute! Ours, not so much. Glad that she’s okay and that the zoo was able to persuade Archie to let go of his new pet and will get her back to her normal habitat. Maybe ringtails aren’t smelly, but our southern U.S. possum variety sure is.

  14. hehehe, I wonder what goes on inside a dogs head when something like this happens. It’s funny when they don’t look, it doesn’t exist….actually I think my two youngest kids still do the same 🙂

  15. What a sweet boy Archie is. Perhaps possums have nine lives too! And I thought that NZers hated possums 😉

  16. You tell the funniest stories!


  18. He is a sweetie- and the possum’s not bad either 🙂 I’m glad the zoo took control though, I’m sure the possum will be much happier in the bush instead of coping with Ruby as a foster-sister xox

  19. G’day! What a great story and ending Charlie, true!
    Archie has an affinity for animals and love his caring nature like his mum’s too! 🙂
    Cheers! Joanne

  20. You brought up a nice son in Archie . . . Blessings from wherever !!!!

  21. I know you’re frustrated but I can also tell you are incredibly proud of your son who did what he knew was the right thing by a wild animal. High5 to Archie and his mother who loves him.

  22. Your fearless and very compassionate son! I adore his response to noting that another driver hit the poor animal and then just drove off! Not Archie! I would not be thrilled to have the wild animal in my home either, Charlie, but the way this all played out was hilarious to read. Even with the stress that came with him, he was a cute little guy!

  23. Too freaking hilarious. We only have the nasty, extremely hideous possums around here. You’re lucky Archie didn’t befriend one of those!!!

  24. Good man your Archie caring for the possum. Glad though she will be released back in her “home”.
    Have an awesome day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  25. Aww Archie is the best, for looking after this beautiful possum 😀
    And being so careful to release her back home!

    Choc Chip Uru

  26. Oh my goodness Charlie, you always have the strangest things happen to you but I guess when we have kids we always have strange things happening to us… LOL I am shocked your dog need to to eat the possum or at least a good chase around the house knocking everything down in its path… Glad everything is kind of back to normal for you well for at least 5 good minutes anyways. Take care, BAM

  27. That little possum is so cute and you must be so proud of Archie for looking after that little guy so compassionately.

  28. oh dear – thank goodness for facebook or you might never have known about the possum 🙂 glad there is a happy end to the story. I always remember one of my housemates dressing in his motorcycle leathers to take a possum out of our bathroom so he wasn’t scratched – ever since I have been very wary of them but this one looks so cute and snuggly

  29. Well, isn’t she cute! Possums in Australia are certainly cuter than the ones here… this is what they look like here…http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/4013/possums-and-opossums-australia-and-america-all-explained/ Yeah, ours are kinda nasty. They aren’t friendly at all and they get into your trash and make a mess… ick!

  30. Oh my gosh, I adore your new pet 😉 how cute!! Haha.

  31. Charlie, you have incredible children. And so fearless!! What did you feed them? Bringing a possum home…wow!! And so cute too. Your stories crack me up.

  32. A very Aussie tale (or ringtail in this case). Very glad to hear that the possum is heading off in the right direction, ditto your car. Hope it stays swag-free for at least a day or two,

  33. Oh my gosh, I love that Archie checked on the poor sweetie! In America, the possums here are VERY mean. I like your possums so much better LOL! So glad the little guy is okay! Hugs, Terra

  34. what a story :D! glad the possum is doing okay now 🙂

  35. You know I love the stories of your kids Charlie. You could write a book. This one in particular is classic!

  36. Can you say ADORABLE?!!
    I love that little pet soooooooo much.
    And your son is a total DOLL!


  37. Yes they look cute but they are a pest. Max caught what has become our resident possum that eats my strawberries, figs, olives etc. the other night. We here him most night charge around the garden and verandah after it. Anyway the other morning we found a dead one at the bottom of the garden and had been maxified, but quite unmolested although missing a bit of fur!! Yuk. The man disposed of the poor little thing. Its been a bit quiet the last couple of nights!

  38. The look on Rosie’s face is priceless! I am glad that the possum tale had a happy ending for all concerned (not least the dogs)!

  39. What a story!!! Possum are like a lot of animals – they are SO CUTE when they are young, but then they grow up. Having seen several when I lived in the southern US, adult possums are this cute. 🙂 Glad the zoo took and plans to set it back in the wild. What a great kid (young adult) to have stopped and saved the little thing!

  40. I love a happy ending on all counts. At least it wasn’t a grandchild, that’s something to be grateful for.

  41. That is one lucky possum, Charlie! Not only to survive a car but to land into the hands of someone willing to care for it. Here. our possum aren’t nearly so cute and I cannot imagine anyone holding one, no matter how young. I once had a terrier that would catch them and lay them at my feet. Nice.

  42. HAHAHA that’s so FUNNY!!! I saw the photo on Instagram and have been dying to read this post but haven’t had time ~ But why am I not surprised that Archie brought a possum home and he wanted to keep that little thing! It is sort of cute but it’s simply not possible!

    I’m glad the possum wasn’t hurt though because I’ve seen so many possums that have been hit before 🙁

  43. What a wonderful chap he is! Not many would have stopped for a possum.She does look awfully cute but here in New Zealand they are a terrible pest.

    • I think Suzanne, you only have the brushtail possums in NZ and yes, they should never have been introduced to your country as they’re a terrible pest but the ringtail are much nicer and live in trees not in roofs! xx

  44. Love the dogs’ reaction… too cute!

  45. That possum is so cute!!! I can’t believe it was so docile and didn’t try to bite Archie. Who would have thought a wild animal could be so tame…or perhaps Archie is just a possum whisperer.

  46. Haha, that’s so cool – I’ve never seen a possum before… just heard about them and always thought they were a bit vicious, but that’s just the brush-tailed ones apparently you say? That one is adorable… cool thing it does with its tail too!

  47. Arggghh our veggie patch was attacked last night and I now have the biggest grudge against possums. In saying that, I couldn’t help but go nawww when I saw the little one in these pics.
    Lucky they’re cute….

  48. Nanette says:

    it’s great your son rescued the possum and took good care of it, but you might like to let him know that it’s actually illegal to keep native animals as pets, and if there’s a next time, he must contact the Wildlife Rescue Service immediately (WIRES). Shame on the vet who checked it out and then just handed it back, he should know that native animals must be taken into care by WIRES. Fortunately a happy ending for the possum.

  49. It’s very good to hear about a young guy who not only has the compassion to rescue an injured possum, but is also interested enough to want to care for it. Very few people stop for injured wildlife and most people don’t have the nerve and skill to handle a possum (I myself got bitten the last time I tried to pick up a ringtail). Archie seems to be a natural at it.

    But I’d like to encourage people to learn a little more about native wildlife, since despite everyone’s good intentions, things could easily have turned out badly in this case. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

    Possums are nocturnal. They need to be left undisturbed to sleep during the day if at all possible. Being handled during the daytime is very stressful for them; it’s like being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night. Stress can be a killer for possums.

    Diet is a problem with possums (and particularly ringtails). They need to be given natural foliage to eat. A little fruit is OK, but strictly in moderation. It’s quite common for young possums rescued by members of the public to die from improper diet.

    Unlike dogs and cats, possums are a prey animal and they try to hide their distress so as not to be targeted by a predator, so they can be in a really bad way and not show it. This makes them hard to care for because they can appear normal in the evening and turn up dead the next morning.

    Ringtails are social animals who live in family groups. A ringtail, and especially a very young one like this, is always going to be happier with its family. Unless you have an orphaned baby, the priority should be on releasing it as soon as possible, and as close as possible to where it was found. They’re territorial and don’t have a homing instinct over long distances so they need to be released very close to where they were picked up (the law says 25 m in some states, 50 m in others, probably a little further would be OK). The possum should be released just after dusk so it has the maximum time to find its way home while it’s still dark, and never released during daytime.

    I hope the above doesn’t come across like I’m being critical. I want to encourage people, and especially people like Archie, to take an interest in the amazing native animals we have here in Australia, and to do so based on knowledge so that no harm is inadvertently done.

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