When we think of hostage situations, we imagine other humans or perhaps the occasional curious bear confining people to their homes (beware: sometimes they hide in your toilet and break in to play the piano). While New Zealanders might be accustomed to the occasional possum break-in, it’s a stretch to imagine being held hostage by one and yet exactly that recently happened to a woman in Dunedin on the country’s South Island recently.
A report from Stuff says the victim was unpacking her car when the marsupial struck. She first became aware of rustling in the bushes and then felt something scale her leg.
“I pulled it off me, thinking it was a cat, and then I saw it was a possum,” she said.
Shaking the animal loose, the woman ran inside her home which apparently did little to deter the possum’s advances as every time she peeked through her doors to see if it was still there it ran at the glass. Victim accounts appear to show that the possum woke up and chose violence.
The self-titled hostage reportedly contacted animal control during the turmoil, but they refused to attend the scene. Instead, they suggested she call the police who stepped in to apprehend the perpetrator.
Upon their arrival, it became apparent to Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen and other officers attending the scene that this was no ordinary possum. As they approached the front door, the possum came up and this time scaled the leg of the law.
The “wild” animal’s unusual behavior could indicate that it was a pet that had been lost or released, with pet possums becoming an emerging trend in the country despite their long-held reputation as pests. Alternatively, it could have been a juvenile that had lost its mother.
Thankfully, neither the possum nor the attending officer came to blows in arrest. The animal was transported to a secure location before being released back into the wild, and the woman was subsequently freed from her home.
If it’s real peril you’re after, check out this harrowing tale of a grizzly bear who returned to a man’s cabin every night for a week as he ran out of bullets, energy, and hope.