When we think of hostage situations, we think of other humans or the rare inquisitive bear holding people captive in their houses (beware: sometimes they hide in your toilet and break in to play the piano).
While possum break-ins are common in New Zealand, it is difficult to picture held prisoner by one, which is precisely what occurred to a woman in Dunedin on the country’s South Island recently. The victim was unloading her car when the marsupial attacked, according to Stuff. She initially heard rustling in the woods before feeling something climb her leg.
She explained, “I dragged it off me assuming it was a cat, but then I discovered it was a possum.” Shaking the animal loose, the woman dashed inside, which appeared to have had no effect on the possum’s advances, as it rushed towards the window every time she peered out her doors to see whether it was still there. According to witness testimonies, the possum awoke and chose violence.
During the chaos, the self-proclaimed hostage apparently phoned animal control, but they refused to come to the location. Instead, they advised her to phone the cops, who intervened to catch the criminal. Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen and other cops on the scene quickly realized that this was no ordinary possum when they arrived. As they neared the front door, the possum reared up and scaled the leg of the law for the second time.
Despite their long-held reputation as pests, pet possums are becoming an increasing fad in the country, and their peculiar behavior might suggest that it was a lost or released pet. It may also have been a young child who had lost its mother.
Fortunately, neither the possum nor the cop on the scene came to blows during the arrest. The animal taken to a secure place before released back into the wild and the woman then liberated from her confinement. If you are looking for true danger, read about a grizzly bear who returned to a man’s cabin every night for a week after running out of shots, energy, and hope.