Monday, February 25, 2013

Critter Attack!

We returned to the boat one evening after enjoying a great "clean out the fridge" dinner aboard Superted V with Jean and Matt. They were heading off for some inland travel and we were the lucky recipients of a dinner invite to help empty the contents of their fridge and freezer. Upon climbing aboard Astarte, Barbara saw an animal aboard on the deck. There are some cats in the we presumed it was that. But NO! It was definitely not a cat! It sat on its haunches, had larger ears a very long furry tail and very large eyes. Michael tried to get it off the deck as Barbara went below to close the hatches (something we learned years ago in Panama when there was a snake aboard!)

Michael never saw the critter leave the boat, so we turned the outside lights on and he went in search under the dinghy and coverings. He did manage to also get a photo of the critter first! Below decks, the animal had obviously made himself at home. He ate a whole apple, took a bath in the pan that was filled with water in the sink (splashing water everywhere on counters, floor and stove) and started on an orange. He also decided the floors were his personal bathroom! Yech!

Later that night (with hatches all now closed) he did return in search of another meal...but was thwarted in his attempts by Micheal. This time he was clearly heard climbing down the ladder. This is a tall ladder!

The animal we determined was an opossum (Trichosurus vulpecula), an introduced species in the mid-1800s that are considered major pests. They eat the native vegetation, break eggs of indigenous birds, pose a threat to cattle by being known carriers of a cattle disease and eat cruisers' fresh vegetables! It is different looking than the possums in the states because of its furry tail. The pelts of these animals though are valuable and in the shops they sell opossum fur made socks and sweaters at quite hefty prices. Perhaps we should trap this one – he is well-fed!

Another critter adventure aboard Astarte.

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