Sunday, April 4, 2010

Possum Pee

When I went out to the barn the other morning, I noticed that there were pawprints in the sediment at the bottom of the watering trough. Around here they call it a tank, but it is only 40 gallons, so tank seems a bit presumptuous. We have a 100 gallon tank in the other pasture, but I am giving that one a rest and allowing the grass to grow in there. I have quit feeding morning hay, so I need to manage the grass consumption. At any rate, I saw prints in the tank.

Here is where it gets tricky. The prints looked to me like raccoon paws. They looked about 3 inches long and about 2 inches wide. I know that raccoons like water, but there is a stream about 50 yards the crow flies or the raccoon waddles. If it is a raccoon, I don't have a problem sharing water. On the other hand, if it is a possum, I have a big problem.

There is a disease called Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM. It is a neurological disorder that a horse gets from eating or drinking something that is contaminated by the urine or feces of an infected possum. It can be fatal even with treatment. So I don't want possums anywhere near the horses. As I get my hay from our property, I don't want possums any where on the place. I don't like shooting animals, but I think I would have to do so if I saw possums setting up housekeeping anywhere near the horses.

Now, possums are generally nocturnal, so they could be around and I wouldn't even know it. This is just one more reason why Rebecca thinks we should get a dog. Lee, on the other hand doesn't want the responsibility of training and dealing with a puppy. Rhett and Ashley are not dog friendly kitties. So we are at an impass.

I would put in a picture of a possum (yech) or a raccoon or even the pawprints in the tank. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that morning and promptly washed out the tank just in case it was a possum print. So I am including a picture of the beautiful blooming tree off our back porch. It has nothing to do with the subject, but it is darn pretty and I didn't have any more things to say about spring!

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