Possum Released Without Charges After Holding Woman Hostage

Every time the woman attempted to leave her home, the marsupial would reportedly charge and force her back inside.
A brushtail possum. Image: Getty Images

Police in Dunedin, New Zealand responded to a call late Sunday evening from a distressed woman who said she was being held hostage by a possum. 

“At about 11pm on Sunday night, the occupant of a Blacks Road, North East Valley, address phoned Police in distress, stating a possum was holding her hostage,” Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen told Motherboard. “When she would exit her house and attempt to reach her car, the possum would charge at her, and she would flee inside.” 


The woman, who has gone unnamed in the New Zealand press, told Stuff that she originally thought the possum was a cat. 

“I had put my stuff on the veranda and as I was heading back to my car ... I heard this rustling,” she said. “I thought ‘that’s weird’, and as I was taking stuff from the back seat something ran up my leg. I pulled it off me, thinking it was a cat, and then I saw it was a possum.”

Trapped in her house, the woman tried to contact animal control, who reportedly were unwilling to come, so she called the police instead. 

Dinnissen told Motherboard that the possum also climbed up the leg of one of their officers, who later managed to subdue it with the light of his flashlight. The officer then let the possum, who the New Zealand media has labeled to as the “Blacks Road ripper,” back into the Signal Hill nature reserve, on the southeast coast of New Zealand. 

While at first this seemed to be the end of the story, local newspaper The Otago Daily Times reported Tuesday that it had spoken to a woman claiming to have been the possum’s owner. She apparently took him in after a friend trapped and killed the animal’s mother. Her plan was to care for the marsupial, which she named Mr. Scoby Lunchbox, until it was old enough to be spayed—then it left the house at around 10 PM Sunday evening. 

‘‘She’s quite friendly with humans hence the climbing up leg situation ... but her claws were trimmed,’’ the woman, who has gone unnamed, told The Otago Daily Times, later adding that she is looking to locate the marsupial with the help of police. 

New Zealand Police did not respond to a question from Motherboard asking if they would assist the woman with a search for the possum.