Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brooklyn has a 'possum problem!

So there I was, on the website of the New York Post...which is where I go to get all my Urban Wildlife Running Amok stories.

And they've got a great one today!

Seems like Brooklyn is overrun with 'possums!
In a bizarre attempt to outwit Mother Nature, city officials introduced beady-eyed opossums in Brooklyn years ago to scarf down rats running amok in the borough, according to local officials.

Surprise: Operation opossum didn't work.

Not only do wily rats continue to thrive, but the opossums have become their own epidemic, with bands of the conniving creatures sauntering through yards, plundering garbage cans and noshing on fruit trees.

The opossums were set free in local parks and underneath the Coney Island boardwalk, with the theory being they would die off once the rats were gobbled up, said Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Brooklyn).
I guess Domenic forgot about the fact that 'possums - like just about all mammals - love to screw!

My friend Todd Hardwick at Pesky Critters is South Florida's preeminent Urban Wildlife Expert. He can attest to the screwing part!

In his more than 30 years as a trapper, he's tangled with backyard 'possums and raccoons, errant alligators and crocodiles, foxes living on golf courses and snakes living under houses, just to name a few. And while Todd does a great job; as far as I can tell - despite his best efforts - we still got plenty of critters here in South Florida.

I called Todd today to get his reaction to Brooklyn's 'possum problem. Said Todd, "Don't mess with Mother Nature!"

So for my friends in Brooklyn; there's bad news and good news.

The bad news? Given the fact that Todd hasn't made any kind of dent in our 'possum population here in South Florida in 30 years, it looks like you and your furry new friends are going to have to learn to coexist.

The good news? You can always eat more 'possum!

Here's a great recipe for 'possum and fixins.

1 fat possum
Salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 c. water
5 strips bacon
2 lg. onions
1 tbsp. celery leaves
1 lg. can mushrooms
5 lg. sweet taters, cut in halves
3 tbsp. lard
1 tbsp. chopped parsley

Nail head of possum to a board, just a little larger than the possum. Skin it. Make paste of lard, salt, pepper and rub over entire possum. Fill cavity with onions, garlic, chopped parsley and celery leaves. Place possum and board on rack in roasting pan. Lay 5 strips of bacon across breast. Add water and mushrooms. Add water as needed. Surround the possum with sweet taters. Leave uncovered.

Bake in oven (300 to 350 degrees) until tender. Baste every 15 minutes. To determine when done, pull leg away from body.

When done, throw away the possum and taters and eat the board.

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