Sunday, 9 February 2014
Jottings from the Tropics: 9 February 2014
Next to one of the windows is a big shrub much favoured by the possums. They use it as a ladder to get to and from the roof, where they spend hours chasing each other across the corrugated iron and trying to rip away the chicken wire from the flue. The shrub also provides snacks. One of the possums has a favourite branch. It lies at the centre of a denuded sphere exactly one possum's reach in radius. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's a bum groove worn into that branch, but I don't feel like checking.
Last night I noticed that the younger of the two possums had her nose pressed against the window. She was perched — precariously — on the narrow window sill. I thought she was attempting to break in. (For some reason possums always want to get into houses. And then all they want to do is get out again.) But she was edging along the sill, systematically eating all the beetles that had been attracted to the interior light. Shuffle...crunch, crunch, crunch...shuffle...crunch, crunch, crunch...and so on. These are big Lepidiota — brown cane beetles — also loved by green tree frogs, which leave the processed evidence of their eating habits all over the place.
Well, you can imagine what happened. This possum edged along the sill until she came to the end. Instead of backing up, she attempted to turn around. Little Poss used to do the same. She stood up, felt herself slipping, clawed desperately at the glass and then, with a wide-eyed look, dropped out of sight into the vegetation below. I was relieved to see the shrub shaking as she made her way up to the roof, where she could be embarrassed without an audience.She stepped very quietly across the iron that night.