Homing possums

When I was a young health inspector, I was fairly outdoorsy.  I was a keen SCUBA diver, I sailed a yacht, and my colleague Gary and I were frequently out hunting in the Kawekas, Ruahine ranges or even up to the Uruweras.  We hunted deer and wild goats and  also did a bit of possum baiting.  We both had cyanide licences. 
 
So when I trapped a possum in a ratepayer’s garden I would take it to Gary and we would decide if the skin was worth harvesting after its execution. 
 
One day we caught a very attractive chocolate coloured beast.  Gary checked it out and thought the fur was not ready, but he thought it would be a real beauty in season.  He suggested I release it way out of town, and with a bit of luck we might catch it again.  I thought the odds were a bit against that, but I did as he suggested. 
 
A week or so later I cought another just like it at the same address,  and did the same.   Within a week I caught a third, in the same trap, at the same address.  I was very suspicious I was catching the same one.  It seemed to be, though all possums do tend to look alike.  Gary was not convinced, and to prove I was wrong, he cut a notch in the possum’s ear with a pair of office scissors.  That in itself was a remarkable feat.  Possums are not the most tractable of beasts. 
 
Even Gary was convinced when I showed him the same possum, complete with notch less than a week later.   He had travelled about 15 Km in about five days, straight back to the same plum tree, in the same back yard.  Why would he (or she) do that? 
 
 
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About Alan

Alone in a sea of spinifex.
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