Grubby leaves a surprise for Homer area biologists
The now infamous Grubby, an opossum from Washington State that made its way to Homer in a shipping container, was gingerly placed in the care of the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. And now, with new information, the epic continues.
To the chagrin of area biologists and the Department of Fish and Game, Grubby the opossum made landfall carrying offspring. Now ADF&G has resumed the search and capture effort, this time with the goal of apprehending Grubby’s litter.
Jason Herreman, with the Department of Fish and Game, said one of them has been caught. However, another sighting has led to speculation that more litter members could be in the Homer area.
Herreman said the small marsupials, referred to as joeys, will be out foraging for food and shelter.
“They're going to try to find food sources, and places with shelter. Shelter areas will be under houses, sheds, any kind of little hole where they can make a burrow. And then food sources, where people have trash outside, if they leave pet food out. Basically, anything that an omnivore could eat. These guys are really generous in their diet,” Herreman said.
In addition to the risk of spreading diseases and the invasive nature of opossums, their indiscriminate hunting and foraging methods pose a risk to local wildlife. Herreman said nesting birds, rodents, and even frogs are a possible food source.
“So you think of the small mammals we have, like our redback voles, our shrews, some of our ermine that are smaller in size, they can compete for space and food and prey on some of these things,” Herreman said.
As of Monday, three young opossums had been captured, and at least one more remained at large.
The search in Homer is currently focused between Ulmers and City Hall down to Safeway. Pet owners should keep animals indoors during the live trapping efforts to capture the young opossums.
ADF&G is asking the community for help in locating any remaining joeys. Herreman says they may transfer diseases to people who get too close and recommends people keep an eye on it and call their office at 907-235-8191 and the Homer Police at 907-235-3150 after business hours.