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“The owner promised me a free bottle of wine if I’d chuck this thing out”

by Prince Of Petworth December 3, 2015 at 10:10 am 79 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

My friend walked into Prego liquor store on 17th tonight and this happened….

She reports:

Nobody will ever believe this. I just went to the wine store and this critter was napping on the ATM. The owner was freaking out, totally scared and though it was a rat. The owner tried to hand me a pair of gloves and promised me a free bottle of wine if I’d chuck this thing out the front door. I couldn’t do it, but this other guy did. Funniest thing I have ever seen in my life. The owner of the store gave the Opossum Whisperer a six pack of Stella for his efforts!”

Far more terrifying than our new overlords in Shaw.

  • eggs

    OMG that photo needs a spoiler warning or something.

  • Donald Krunk

    He chose Stella!!!!

    • Derek M.

      Getting attacked by a possum > drinking Stella

      • llinds

        hahahaha, nice

  • callmeB

    This post made me smile. Thanks! Poor baby, can’t catch a boozy break!

  • wdc

    That’s hilarious! But that picture… *shudder* I hate possums.

    • OffTheAvenue

      Nightmares tonight

  • Mab

    I’d almost rather see a rat in a liquor store than one of those things. They FREAK me out!

  • Derek M.

    Does that possum have foot thumbs?

    • LittleBluePenguin

      yup! They’re called halux and they help them climb trees and stuff like little monkeys!

      • Derek M.

        What is a monkey doing getting money from an ATM?

        • swifty

          couldn’t swipe her debit card without opposable thumbs.

  • Kimberly

    Awww, poor baby just wanted a warm spot to nap! I have one that hangs out on my porch every once in awhile, snatching apples and pumpkins, and driving my dogs insane. They are actually great… they eat mice, rats, roaches, and other bugs. But when scared they do emit a toxic smell… guy is lucky!

    • Truxton Thomas

      If I saw a ‘possum eating a rat, I might never recover from the trauma.

    • transplanted

      They’re also great for ridding your yard of ticks! One possum can kill 5,000 ticks in a season. I think they’re freaky looking but also pretty rad.

      Source: http://www.caryinstitute.org/newsroom/opossums-killers-ticks

    • Anonamom

      We get opossums all the time, as well as raccoon. I had no clue they ate other mammals! They are now officially welcomed in my yard, but the trash thieving raccoon can piss off still.

      • wdc

        The Internet has renamed raccoons “trash pandas.”

        • LittleBluePenguin

          well, red pandas sure do look like ginger raccoons, I wonder if they’re related….gonna go google….

        • Anonamom

          They are cute, I was even a raccoon for Halloween! But the way the will happily strew trash through the yard is very irritating. I have also come home to find them crawling up the waste pipe to just chill* on the roof.
          *”chill” as in freak the f*ck out of us

      • palisades

        They also eat cats. And chickens. Not just small rodents. Any kind of mammal. Beware

        • JoDa

          Most opossums are smaller than most cats, so I find that a little hard to believe. Google says they eat snakes, rodents, and fruit, primarily. I came face-to-face with an opossum just takin’ a walk on my neighbor’s retaining wall a few weeks ago when walking my dog, and it just hissed and ran away, even though I had a medium-sized dog on the leash with me. I mean, granted, my dog has treed raccoons bigger than him, and he was giving me the “I’ll kill it, mom” attitude, but the OP (HA!) didn’t seem to be particularly interested in a smallish dog as prey…

          • Molly

            Well done on the OP :)

  • marigold

    Awesome Possum

  • ShawRes

    This is TERRIFYING! Also that he stopped to take the picture. Opossums are scary dude! We saw two last night in our neighborhood making all sorts of sounds. I’d actually never seen one before!

  • Philippe Lecheval

    They’re pretty harmless. When I was a kid, I spotted an opossum with no fur (alopecia?) in a tree in our backyard while I was climbing it, and it scared me half to death. I had convinced myself that it was some sort of alien being.

  • Smilla

    Thanks for a genuine LOL, OP and PoP. I needed it this morning!

    And good for the Opossum Whisperer! Brave dude!

  • Blithe

    Ick. Beyond ick. I wish I had waited a bit to check in — so that this picture wasn’t my first morning glimpse of PoPville. :-/ Cool story though.

  • rachel

    porkchop (the English bull dog) got into it with a possum in the yard of our old place in Bloomingdale and the possum WOULD NOT BACK DOWN. they weren’t actually fighting, but it hissed and spat and her and was generally menacing, while PC barked and growled and tried to get it to leave. she finally cornered it behind a trash bin and I pulled her away with her hind legs and forced her to go back into the house. I guess the possum ran off. first, last, and hopefully only encounter with a possum.

    • Quotia Zelda

      When I was a kid, we had a badass little toy poodle who cornered a possum on our back porch. My mother finally had to carry the dog away since the possum was bigger and she was afraid Mr. Toughguy Fred C. Dobbs would get hurt.

    • jenster8dc

      The fact that your dog’s name is Porkchop makes me very happy. :-)

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    A six-pack of Stella? I would not touch this monster for anything less than free booze for life.

    • Suse


    • textdoc

      Yeah — seems like possum-removal ought to be worth more than that.
      If I were limited to a single bottle, I’d be angling for Veuve Clicquot or something.

    • Yes, the person was totally undercompensated for that service! Maybe not free booze for life, but a couple bottles of premium liquor at least!

      • wdc

        But the selfie and the story and the bragging rights have to be worth something!

    • Caroline

      I would have at least liked a shot before doing something like that.

    • The Prego store isn’t famous for its selection.

  • Pixie

    Ugh that photo! Possums are freaky looking critters.

  • The OP Anon

    Hold on – this thing was inside the store and just sitting on the ATM?
    Possums are typically fairly reclusive. This was one very sick possum, potentially rabid, if it was letting humans get that close.
    No way in hell I would have touched that.

    • The OP Anon

      PS – there’s a lot of possums in the Dupont area. I was walking north on 17th, between U Street and Seaton just across from the MPD station. A possum emerged from some shrubs at waist level, walking along a house’s front yard fence. It was ugly, greasy coated fur, smelled awful, and had beady glowing eyes. I nearly had a heart attack and screamed, as I was walking on the sidewalk and maybe only 5 feet from the damn thing.
      I hate possums!

    • LittleBluePenguin

      Eh. I mean, yeah, I wouldn’t want to get cuddly with a possum – ever, ever ever – but s/he may have just been seeking food and warmth, it’s unlikely it had rabies – possums actually very rarely have rabies, much less frequently than other wild creatures. It could be sick, but usually sick animals (barring the rabid ones) tend to go into hiding, rather than hang out with humans. I hope this brave gent placed the animal somewhere safe, because even though it’s ugly as sh!t, I’d prefer it not meet with an untimely end or unkind humans.

    • Shaw

      Nah, urban opossums are pretty bold. I watched one walk right into a busy grocery store behind a guy who went in once. And if you get up close to it, they’ll play dead (that’s actually where the phrase “playing opossum” comes from) and you can even pick one up and it’ll keep pretending to be dead until it finally feels threatened enough to fight.
      In general, though, I like them – they’re scary looking, but as another poster mentioned, they are great for the urban ecosystem – they kill rats, mice, and roaches. Next to bats, who eat hundreds of mosquitos every night (which is awesome! I built a bat house years ago and I’ve never had another mosquito bite in my yard since), they’re one of my favorite misunderstood urban creatures :)

      • textdoc

        Do you have any tips on building a bat house? Do bats like all areas of D.C.?

        • transplanted

          Seconding this question — I love bats and hate mosquitoes!

          • Shaw

            As best I can tell, the ones in my bat house are the “Little Brown Bat”, which is common in this part of the country and which is a hibernating, rather than migrating, type of bat. They are very particular about where they live (typical DC attitude! maybe that’s why they’re so happy here?) so you must get the bat house just right. Openings can’t be too big or too small. House must be mounted up high (over 15 feet up) and must be facing south. You can’t sand the inside too smooth, or they won’t have anything to grab onto.
            Spend a bit of time on google and find either a plan or a pre-made house for the Little Brown Bat specifically, and mount it before the spring, so they will find it after they hibernation is over. Give it the whole summer into the fall. If you don’t get any bats, try a different house for the next year. Keep trying, though! They’re well worth the trouble to get them to move in! And once they move in, they’ll stay all year and the next generation will take over each spring :)

        • Blithe

          I don’t know, textdoc, but one of the treats of my childhood was visiting my grandmother’s house in Columbia Heights in the evening, so that I could watch bats circling the church tower – – And reassure myself that they Only lived in CH. NOT in Petworth.

        • Robin

          Just google for plans on the interwebs. There are a TON of plans out there. I built mine from plans I found and it worked out really well. Sad thing is that no bats have yet to take up residence. Ungrateful creatures. ;-)

          And, if you’re not up to building the whole thing yourself, there are lots of other options from buying a kit to buying a pre-built bathouse.

        • Tall E

          I know someone who built a bat house and they never came :( The population sank due to white nose syndrome a few years ago so there were just fewer bats around. All the more reason to put the houses up in hopes that bats will find them and take care of your local mosquitos!

        • MM

          Bats are great but not for eating mosquitos. Bats prefer moths, beetles and other bigger bugs. Often quoted study says bats consume hundreds, or thousands, of mosquitos per hour but this study is not good science

    • wdc

      No, possum body temp is too low for rabies.

      • Erin

        +1000 just about to say that.

        They may hiss and spit and lunge, and sure they can bite and it would hurt, but they can’t carry rabies due to a low body temperature.

        So maybe sick, but not rabid.

  • samanda_bynes

    i love those critters. little king trashmouth!

    • also anon

      Technically that was a raccoon but good reference!

  • You Sir

    This needs to also be filed under the You Sir/Madam Are My Hero file.

    • DC_Chica

      yes! my exact thought also.

    • textdoc

      Actual LOL. :)

  • Stopthemadness

    This photo is beyond terrifying. I literally screamed in my office.

  • soulshadow55

    Oh wow, we used to have those small, open recyclable bins on our front porch. I went out one morning to put some plastic bottles in it and saw a possum just chillin in the recycle bin. I just laughed because I’ve had raccoons, stray cats and now possums – right in the heart of Columbia Heights. I didn’t want to mess with it so I asked a passing neighbor if he would remove it and he said “nope, not happening.” I could understand, so I left it alone hissing in the bin. By the time I came home from work it was gone.

  • Ally

    Best PopVille post EVER. And glad no one killed the opossum! They’re mean as hell, but I have a soft spot for them. Especially when interacting with them comes with free wine!

    • MsSunshine


  • Poor opossum, it’s terrified. They’re harmless. I’d be more concerned about how it got in–if there’s a hole or entry big enough for this critter it’s more than big enough for real rats.

    • Shaw

      Prego does have a tendency to leave their side screen door on the Corcoran Street side propped open, even in winter. Little guy probably just walked right in like a customer!

      • CHSC

        I literally saw the opossum go into Prego. The front door was fully propped open and the little guy just ran right in and a man on the street immediately alerted the store owner who then proceeded to freak out.

  • TJ

    The opossum gets a bad rap – comparisons to rats and raccoons aren’t fair to this American marsupial that tends to mind its own business. Also, possums really don’t live in the U.S., but it is a common mistake.

    • wdc

      It’s not a mistake, it’s a colloquialism.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      Actual possums (the ones down in NZ and Oz) are nasty little f@$%#rs!

  • Llama

    This is awesome!! This just replaced the “bald eagle in Petworth” picture as my new desktop background at work.

  • Jim

    Possums are harmless and great to have around because they control rodents and insects. We have one in our neighborhood and I am always glad to see it. Not exactly cute and cuddly but much better than rats and roaches!

    More information here: http://opossumsocietyus.org/

  • Brett M

    Opossum or Rat…they look pretty similar to me. There’s no freaking way I’d do that for a 6-pack!

  • kuhl

    Last winter, at night, I went out back to bring our cat back in and an opossum came running towards the door thinking he could come in too!

  • Anon.

    Eeeeew… Look at those hands/feet! I think an opossum lives near my house and pees on my front steps. Do they have flourescent looking sticky urine?

    • Shaw

      Only the ones who play with plutonium???
      In all seriousness, though, any animal experts who can answer this? Now I’m curious…

    • Erin

      Nope. http://wildliferemovalusa.com/opossum-urine.html

      Flourescent looking sticky substance sounds like antifreeze to me? Any chance you could have something leaking antifreeze near your steps?

  • I Dont Get It

    I think Possums are cute. When I got my cat his tail and head had been shaved thus his name Possum!

  • Piglet

    He should’ve used him for possum pie

  • DCDuchess

    Many years ago, when in lived in VA, we ran into a possum crossing from our yard into neighbors yard. My fox terrier was going ballistic, he wanted a piece of him badly. I then thought about the huge vet bills resulting from this encounter and kept him away.

    My other dog, a black & tan coonhound, cornered a big possum one night under the deck. But she had more sense, no way was she going in close – LOL!

  • anonyme

    I read that opossums only have an average life span of 1-2 years. I hope this little guy/girl defies the odds (given its instincts to seek out the warmth of an ATM machine for a snooze, it just might make it)!


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