Warning: Do not read this article if you are eating, have just eaten or are about to eat. Trust me.
A possum died in our garage recently. Exactly when I couldn’t say. But if I watched CSI I might know all about how long a possum has to decompose before you start smelling the mind-numbing stink.
We knew we’d had a visitor, as my husband went ballistic when he noticed that several of the buildings on his train layout had been knocked over, and several trees appeared to have possibly been someone’s midnight snack. At first he thought I had been messing with it. Besides the fact that my interest in trains is only slightly greater than my interest in rodents, and even though I have been hungrier than usual lately, I was ruled out as a suspect when he discovered several turds scattered around the layout (which is about 5 feet off the ground). Even if I was so inclined, I’m just not agile enough to climb up there and do…that.
Because our kitchen cabinet space is limited, my husband built some shelves in the garage to use as a pantry. Some further exploration turned up some bags of pasta with holes in them, the pieces scattered about. And then there was the chocolate syrup.
We had a brand new bottle of chocolate syrup still in a bag on the shelf. We discovered it on the floor, it’s safety cap off, and chocolate in a puddle that was, thankfully, mostly in the bag. There were footprints scattered about, and it was quite obvious that something had been feasting on it. Since the footprints were decidedly smaller than mine, any lingering doubts in my husband’s mind were put to rest (whew!).
The grossness factor had me shuddering, and also throwing out every food product that wasn’t in a can. We were worried that a rat had taken up residence, which, ugh. Blech. Yuck. So utterly disgusting.
Once the smell began we realized that something must have died and, smarties that we are, began to put two and two together. Remembering that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, we looked online and discovered that the theobromine in chocolate can also cause fatal reactions in cats and rodents.
Through some crack investigation (If you were a rodent where would you hide?) we discovered that the culprit was a young possum ( I don’t know why it makes me feel better that it was a possum than a rat, but it does).
My husband thinks he’s discovered a great new rodent extermination tool. Disgusting as the whole episode is, I feel sorry for the possum.
And I’m afraid chocolate will one day be the death of me, too. But what a way to go.