Of paltas and comedrejas

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.

An even more amazing rabbit chase

It was the most amazing rabbit chase to date. And seeing as we’ve had a rabbit bounce off our legs and escape at a 90° angle (honest!), that’s saying something.

We were in an open area, with woods about 50 meters ahead, when suddenly one of the dogs burst out of the woods, chasing a young rabbit straight down the path towards us. Had the dog been Benji or Jordan, the rabbit would already be dead, but the dog chasing it wasn’t one of the faster ones.

And the little rabbit wasn’t fast at all.

From Pinterest, source unknown

Syd and I immediately stood on the path in the way of the dog and shouted. No time to think, but with the other dogs behind us, in a completely open area, the little rabbit was seconds away from being torn to shreds.

But then something amazing happened.

We didn’t scare the dog, which continued running. But the rabbit abruptly turned around and ran (as fast as it could, but not real fast) straight back on the trail it had just come down, into the woods. All by itself.

Dogs? No, they were running furiously in the opposite direction. They made a wide arc onto the sand road nearby and reversed direction, and it looked like they still had a good chance to intercept the rabbit.

And then they were running everywhere – could the rabbit possibly escape?


Which gave an amazing chase a particularly happy ending.


Lines in the sand

The few hundred acres of scrub bushes and pine trees we where we walk dogs has little in the way of stunning beauty, and sometimes glaring examples of human ugliness, but it does not have thousands of people like the beach.

And it almost always has fascinating little discoveries, like these lines in the sand.

grass, sand

They must have been caused by wind and the grass, but how exactly they managed to make those outward curves was not at all clear.