One night, not too long ago, in fact so recently that it was last night, I was with my two best friends attempting to relax after a camping trip. One of said friends is soon departing our dear California for the other coast, and we took a farewell camping trip to the lovely Deep Creek Hot Springs, which I highly suggest anyone looking for a relaxing hot spring time followed by a semi difficult but not intolerable hike check out. We were back at her house that night, tired and ready to sleep, when she jumped off her desk chair and ran out of the room.
A rat! A rat! Victoria screamed, pointing into the closet. Stephanie and I looked at each other in alarm. Where? What? How? We inched towards the closet, in fear but also in apprehension. Was there really a rat in the closet? We stood as far back as we could and still see in. Stephanie bravely leapt forward to turn on the light and try to scare the creature out of hiding. And indeed, we saw a head poke out of the corner and then quickly retreat. But it was not a rat.
It was a possum.
How does a possum get into a second floor bedroom, let alone a closet? When has a possum ever been in a house? Who has even seen possums roaming around California? Were the questions that reeled through our minds. But most importantly of course, how to get rid of said possum.
As Stephanie began to theorize, I took out the trusty cell phone and looked up 'how to get rid of a possum' and various other iterations of said question. But I came upon a problem very quickly: every article was based on how to get rid of possums if you suspect that they are in your house, or how to prevent possums from entering the home, or other useless articles when there is literally a possum hiding in the corner of the closet of the bedroom that you are supposed to be sleeping in imminently.
We were not dissuaded, aka we were not willing to sleep in the room with the creature. As follows is the account of how we humanely put the possum out of the household, to serve future generations of people who need to get a possum out of the house and don't know if you can call animal control at 10 pm / don't know if they can afford animal control, ever.
Most of this credit goes to the one Stephanie Ritter, queen of humane woodland creature control.
1. Create a blockade around the area in which the pest is located. A semicircle around a door is the example here. Possible materials include but not limited to: a tent in a bag, piles of books, a shower caddy full of old shampoo, sleeping bags in stuff sacks, backpacks laden down with books and other papers.
2. Put on shoes. Hiking boots ideal, anything with large sole second place, barefoot not ideal.
3. Send one person to the kitchen to retrieve three large bowls, and two knives. The knives are not meant to be used in the humane scenario, but nobody wants rabies. Knives are emergency scenario if the woodland creature somehow knows how to jump or attack. See other places on the internet for which woodland creatures know how to jump and/or attack.
4. Once outfitted with shoes, bowls, and knives, send most prepared person into area to remove all foreign objects thus creating an open space where a bowl can be dropped on the creature. Make sure person has quick reflexes and escape abilities.
5. Remove all foreign objects, place heavy ones among the barricade.
6. Find a fence: not a fence as in an outdoor barricade or a member of a large scale art thief operation, but an item that can be used to fence in the possum. Possible material: large piece of cardboard. Improvise with available materials.
7. Human 1 holds the fence in one hand and a bowl in the other and fences the creature into a small area. Humans 2 and 3 hold a bowl in one hand and an emergency knife in the other.
8. Humans 1 2 and 3 freak out when the possum backs itself up against the wall and looks ready to attack.
9. Human 2 looks up if creature is blind. Possums, as it turns out, are not.
10. Humans 1 2 and 3 attempt to calm down and not make noise so possum will walk across the floor into a trappable spot. Possum begins to ascend from the wall back onto the floor. Many harried looks are exchanged waiting for the moment. Human 1, in our case the champion Stephanie, drops the largest bowl on the possum. Humans 2 and 3 shriek in shock and delight.
11. Place books on top of bowl to hold possum in place.
12. Slide fence under bowl. This method is similar to the method used to humanely get spiders out of a household with a cup and paper, except a possum is way gianter than a spider.
13. Retrieve duct tape. Duct tape bowl to fence so that possum cannot escape and bite humans while carrying outside.
14. Grab now attached fence and bowl while trying not to freak out. Human 3 leads the way down the stairs and opens all doors while Humans 1 and 2 struggle to balance possum upright and not have it flinging around, inhumanely. Humans 1 and 2 exit front door with possum while Human 3 closes front door after them to ensure that no other possums or other creatures enter house during absence.
15. Humans carry the possum down the street and lay the contraption on the sidewalk. Human 3 takes emergency knife and cuts away the duct tape. Human 3 retreats.
16. Human 1 walks up to contraption, swiftly kicks bowl up and away from possum. Human 1 retreats quickly.
17. All Humans watch from safe distance. First, humans are worried that the humane method has failed and that the possum has perished. But rejoice! The possum looks around and runs away.
18. Humans are happy that they have eradicated the possum humanely, but still freaked out at the experience as a whole.
There you have it, how to eradicate a possum from a bedroom without killing it. The internet is a complete place once again.