Last Saturday I awoke to find that the door on the trap was closed, but through the bathroom window I couldn't identify the occupant. I got dressed and walked through the back yard and around the corner with my phone's video recorder going. Here's what I found:
Later, I reviewed the photos from my game camera, which I had focused on the trap, and was able to recreate the timeline of the capture.
The possum first appears at 4:27 a.m. Note the open trap door.
The trap door closes sometime between 4:27 & 4:30, presumably to the possum's chagrin.
Daylight arrives, but the possum doesn't depart, despite the open door.
The rock on top of the cage is to keep the trap from closing again, when/if
the prisoner decides to accept the terms of his parole.
Alert Gazette readers will recall that this was not my first possum encounter. I much prefer the live ones to those of the deceased persuasion
. They're actually a fascinating species, being almost totally resistant to the venom of rattlesnakes and water mocassins (which ruled out one of my cause-of-death theories espoused in the preceding link), and quite resistant to rabies.
Also, that "playing possum" deal is a real thing, but it appears to be an involuntary, uncontrollable act, much like Trump's tweets. The catatonic state can last up to several hours. This behavior is not present in babies, nor well-developed in juveniles, which might explain why this young one merely clung to the side of the cage when approached.
I'm fairly confident that possums aren't culprits in the systematic destruction of our yard and flower beds, so I had no qualms about releasing this one back into the neighborhood.