Poor Petrified Possum On A Precarious Perch

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA

I seem to be a magnet for unusual animal sightings in the city.

Last week I added another to my list when I was driving towards my office one morning and spotted this poor opussum.

Opussum stuck on a fence


Opossum stuck in Porter Square

He was perched atop a high chain link fence that runs along the railroad tracks in Porter Square on the Somerville-Cambridge line.  On the street side the sharp tops of the chain link wires stuck up next to the railing. On the other side was a very long drop to the tracks that run well below the street.  This was a possum in a pickle. He was stuck.

Opossum stuck in Porter Square

I stayed with him for quite some time. It was heartbreaking - and very stressful for him. He had trains next to him on one side and traffic and trucks running along the other side. People too - you kind to had to chuckle watching pedestrians walk by - either oblivious or doing a doubletake when they realized the there was an opossum inches away at head level.

I made several calls to the Cambridge Police and Animal Control.  He was right on the line between the two cities so there was some question as to which city would be the one to talk to.

Possum trying to figure out how to get down

Just as we had determined this beast was stuck in Somerville the plucky 'possum finally figured out how to get down.  He stuck his very long claws in the fence and down he went.

Possum making it down the fence

He'd ended up on the ledge on the tracks side and was still very much interested in getting way down but the rock wall didn't provide a means to make the descent.  He was shaken up and started making soundless cries - rapidly opening and closing his mouth.

Possum made it down along the tracks


Possum along the railroad tracks in Porter Square

You can't tell from the photos but he's way above the ground even now that he made it down the fence.  I can only hope that he made his way along the granite tightrope and eventually found his way home. I can't help but think of him every time I drive by.


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Jeanean Gendron
The Address Realty - Redding, CA
Specializing in Selling Unique Properties

Liz, I hope the little guy got home. What amazing photos. You had a special day on that day! Great shots!

May 10, 2010 03:06 PM #13
Gloria Todor
Century 21 Absolute Realty - Media, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Liz, It's a mixed bag being observant about your surroundings because you end up seeing things that you may not have control over, but you can only hope for the best.  Interesting to hear you say how others either noticed him or were completely oblivious.  I find most people are in their own worlds and miss a lot of nature happening around them.  Thanks for sharing your day!


May 10, 2010 03:18 PM #14
Gerry Khatchikian
Red Lodge, MT


I enjoyed following the adventure through photos of this possum.  It must have been quite an interesting scene to look at and you captured some nice photos of this little fellow.   :)

Thank you for sharing his a-moose-ing adventure on the Cambridge-Somerville line with us.

May 10, 2010 03:18 PM #15
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Hannah ~ It just killed me. Sure do hope he's safe.

Hi Joe ~ Who would've thunk it, huh? Though a few years ago I opened my front door in Cambridge to grab the newspaper and there was an opossum crossing the steps. The city's become a zoo!

Hi Tim ~ That's a mind boggling story - and reminds me of the commercial that's on right now where the near sighted woman mistakes the racoon for her cat - and invites him in.

Hi Lottie ~ If I could have picked him up I would have - helples was jus how you felt watching him huddled there.

Hi John ~ He was definitely in a pickle with those sharp spokes. The train's a big if.

Hi Jeanean ~ I'm psyched that I always have a camera since I started blogging. My first two crazy animal sightings in Cambridge were pre-blog and I couldn't figure out how to make my phone camera work. I have a Loch Ness Monster-style photo of the deer I saw in Cambridge a few years ago.

Hi Gloria ~ It really was something watching the pedestrians - never mind the drivers. I had done a swooping U-turn when I spotted him. Just wait until I get new glasses!!

Hi Gerry ~ I love having the blog as a way to preserve his saga.  A mini-moose for Monday!!




May 10, 2010 03:26 PM #16
Lori Cain
eXp Realty - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Poor little guy. I probably would have tried to climb the fence to get him. :-) GREAT shots - you were patient to catch him on his way down - hope he's home safely!

May 10, 2010 10:54 PM #17
Susan Brown
Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too) - Kingwood, TX

Liz, What a great photo journal of this little guy's predicament.  I'm glad he got down & am hoping he found his way home. 

May 11, 2010 03:45 AM #18
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Liz  I think you are right "he" - a lady possum would have figured it out sooner :)  Karen

May 12, 2010 12:57 AM #19
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I don't think he was having a problem getting down. He was just sitting on the fence like so many buyers and sellers, wondering whether he should sell his Somerville home and buy in Cambridge.

May 12, 2010 07:58 PM #20
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


A possum in Somerville. Now I have seen everything.  You are obviously a friend to animals and after my own heart with these precious photos of him. Great job on this.


May 13, 2010 01:04 AM #21
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

What a great roving reporter you would make!  I have to admit that when I read the title, I thought "petrified" was like mummified.  I wasn't sure what I was going to see...lol!

May 13, 2010 02:38 AM #22
Julia Odom
Select Realty Professionals - Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga Homes for Sale

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of possums (possa?) in general. I've had too many hissing at my dogs and cats over the years. BUT, I can't bear to see any creature in fear for its life. We'll just imagine that he made it home just in time for dinner with his little possum wife & possum babies.

May 15, 2010 08:41 AM #23
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

the poor little thing Liz! You wonder what ever possessed him/her to get up there! Your right him/her wasprobably extremely stressed!

May 15, 2010 02:37 PM #24
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Elizabeth - I would wager that when the little gaffer gets home there will be some tall tails told

May 15, 2010 02:40 PM #25
Thom Abbott
MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

We can only hope for the best. Nature and Man do not always blend well, as your photo of a train whizzing by clearly indicates.

We have tons of squirrels in our area, and you often see on that was less than fortunate. Everytime I see one headed towards the street, I call out to myself, "Run Chicken Little, RUN!"

Yep. Official. I've lost it!

May 16, 2010 01:38 AM #26
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

And I thought my camera shots of my squirrels leaping from feeder to feeder was special. Now I must go find another creature to keep up with you. Just think, without  AR, what would we have done with these photos.

 Sitting on the fence is a priceless observation.#20

May 18, 2010 11:04 PM #27
Jay Lloyd
Cape Coral Florida - Cape Coral, FL
Allpro Home Inspection

Hi Elizabeth, What great photos! ....I'd guess if he could figure a way off the fence, he was able to find his way home. I have a soft spot for wildlife. We intrude on their space with urban sprawl etc. ...you gotta wonder what the heck they think about all the obstacles we humans put in their way. I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for taking the time to watch, photograph, and post his story. jay

May 22, 2010 02:14 AM #28
Ann Dail
Baton Rouge Area Homes, Louisiana, USA, 225-761-0551 - Baton Rouge, LA
Broker/Realtor,CRS, ePRO, SRS, B.A.Chem

When man and his technology invade nature's habitats, little creatures get displaced.  I also hope he found his way home.  That he was out in daylight shows how very lost he was as they are nocturnal!

May 22, 2010 03:30 AM #29
Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES
Exit Preferred Realty - Bel Air, MD
Harford County Specialist


That is so cool. I have never seen one active.


May 24, 2010 01:40 AM #30
John Mayer
Oikos Realty, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach Florida - Cocoa Beach, FL
Your Beach Area Expert

Liz - What a touching photo blog about a cute scared little creature but I'm with Ken. He seems destined to become road kill! :-) Your post is now featured at "Stories, People and Photos".

Jun 02, 2010 05:49 PM #31
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

Liz, you are the younger Betty White of real estate.  It is clear you love all animals as does Ms White.  I love the details and the fact you took action.  I am sure this is why you are such a good agent.

Sep 02, 2010 04:27 AM #32
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Elizabeth Bolton

Cambridge MA Realtor
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