Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Help Me Howard: Opossum
Opossums are funny looking animals. Funny unless they decide to set up camp in your backyard. One woman in Broward managed to trap two of them but then couldn't get anyone to take the critters away. She's calling Help Me Howard. Here's the night team's Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Opossums are pretty tough. After all, they've been around for 70 million years.
They aren't pretty, and they won't mess with you, unless, of course, you mess with them.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "They find a way to get in."
And the scary-looking opossum is not what Ketty wanted to find in her yard a few weeks ago.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "I was getting ready to clean up, and that's when I noticed about four of them went under the couch."
Ketty got rid of the couch in her backyard, but that didn't get rid of the opossums.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "Two of them went under the porch, so my neighbors had to help me get then out."
Needless to say, a patrolling opossum does not particularly thrill Ketty.
Bruce: "Is that one right there?"
Ketty Carrasquillo: "Oh, shoot! Don't do that."
Ketty's neighbor heard about her opossum problem and tried to run them off. It didn't work.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "Right in the corner there, they made a hole, so I had to cover that one up."
So Ketty and Bruce set traps, caught two and then started calling to find someone to pick them up. However, no one wanted to do that, but everyone had advice.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "They told me, 'Don't go in the backyard because that's kind of dangerous.'"
Which means the opossums running loose have Ketty trapped while she has two opossums trapped.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "I would love for them to find another place to put them. Better than them dying in here."
Finally, one of the opossums decided enough was enough and escaped.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "No, oh, no, that's not good. He's not under there. Yeah, he was in there for a couple of days. I heard him last night, he was scratching."
Which means one more opossum running loose in Ketty's yard. Desperate to solve this possum problem, Ketty called Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "The days of getting free wildlife removal are over, though there are a number of firms that will remove everything from alligators to snakes. However, whether you hire a private firm or call the county, either way you have to pay."
And it's not cheap to get wild animals removed.
We called around -- it costs about $300 to trap and remove an opossum. That's too much for most people.
And if you want to trap and remove them yourself, believe it or not, the law might be watching.
Howard Finkelstein: "You can't hurt or kill any animal, wild or domestic even if it is on your property unless it's necessary -- and if it is a rabid or dangerous wild animal, the killing must be humane."
That means to get rid of them Ketty will have to try a few old tricks.
Things like covering your garbage cans, keeping lights on outside or get a dog to scare them away. Because Ketty definitely wants them to go away.
Ketty Carrasquillo: "You don't want them to bite you and everything else. If there's about six of them there, you know, I don't want to take the chance of getting bit."
Patrick Fraser: "Now, as I talked to Howard, it dawned on us: If you follow the law to the letter, it's illegal to kill a rat or a snake. The law is going overboard, of course -- if you kill a rat, no one is going to haul you off to jail. As for hunting wild animals, that is a totally different issue -- and different laws regulate it."
A wild problem left you feeling trapped? Don't play possum with it. Wake up and get in touch with us.
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