Of paltas and comedrejas

Categories Atlántida, Flora and fauna

The other night, quite late, I let the dogs out to the back yard and a huge uproar. Grabbing the flashlight, I saw a “dead” comadreja (possum) on the grass. (“Dead:” of course it was gone the next morning.)

By daylight, I noticed something near one of our two very prolific (this year, at least) avocado trees.

Possum damage to avocado harvest

Look to the top left and lower right, and you’ll see what look like mushrooms, or eggs, or – you guessed it – avocado pits.

Today, under the other, which produces larger fruit, I saw more evidence of recent activity.

Possum damage to avocado harvest

That avocado skin in the foreground measures 5 inches (12.7 cm) from end to end – a serious guacamological loss.

The first tree drops fruit; this one doesn’t. Since possums are very adept climbers, I suspect this represents an unauthorized harvest.

Possum damage to avocado harvest

Which is perhaps the reason I have had little scraps of fence wire hanging on the garage wall for so long. I don’t know if this will work, but the critter will have to navigate points of wire at the top, and the boards should make it difficult to get right next to the trunk. We’ll see.

If you’ve spent time in Uruguay, you may have noticed an abundance of parrots. They are quite charming until you plant fruit trees, and you find them taking a few bites out of each pear or fig.

One person told me that there weren’t always so many. It seems that the rapid increase in eucalyptus and pine planting in the past 30-40 years has given parrots very tall trees for build their nests – above the range of possums, who presumably like parrot chicks and eggs in addition to avocados.

5 thoughts on “Of paltas and comedrejas

  1. My personal opinion is that the possum fence will not be a deterrent. Please keep us posted.

  2. No apparent further damage this morning, so perhaps it was effective. Were it a raccoon or a squirrel instead, I would agree that any preventative attempt would likely be futile. Though I don’t mean any disrespect for possums, one must remember that, after all, their most defining achievement is the ability to play dead.

  3. I hope that your little fence works. If not, perhaps a bit of razor wire (if available) or a cylinder of thin gauge sheet metal several feet up might do the trick. Thanks so much for continuing to post. I have enjoyed your blog for several years. Your photos are great.

    1. Thanks Norma. I’m always glad to hear that someone else enjoys this blog, which I do mostly to amuse myself. I actually taught photography for a brief period out of college, then for a while had a couple Nikons but have devolved (evolved?) to point-and-shoots, and now a Motorola smartphone.

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