'I'm Being Held Hostage by a Possum'

Police in New Zealand resolved a weird case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2021 10:21 AM CST
'I'm Being Held Hostage by a Possum'
A brushtail possum, though not the hostage-taker in New Zealand.   (Getty Images/phototrip)

In the annals of police emergency calls, it's a strange one. "I'm being held hostage by a possum," a woman informed police in Dunedin, New Zealand, reports UPI. It seems the woman was unpacking her car when she felt what she thought was a cat run up her leg. She pulled it off, realized it was a brushtail possum, then dropped it and ran inside her house. And as she told police, every time she tried to go back outside, the possum would reappear and seem to charge at her, per the Guardian. Sure enough, when an officer showed up, the possum ran up his leg, too. The officer managed to stun the animal by shining his flashlight in its eyes, then put it into a box and released it unharmed in a more rural location.

An animal behaviorist tells the Guardian a possum would typically run away from humans, but this one was probably too young and too scared to know any better. Police even suspect it may have been an escaped pet. After the story made headlines, the local Otago Daily Times provided a possible explanation. It spoke to a woman in the neighborhood who had been caring for a young possum that turned up on her doorstep earlier in the year. She is now looking for the released possum, assuming it's the same one. ‘‘She’s quite friendly with humans, hence the climbing-up-leg situation ... but her claws were trimmed,’’ she says.

(More strange stuff stories.)

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