Thousands of Possum Tails Mysteriously Dot NZ Roads

No one has a clue how they got there or why
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2015 7:40 AM CDT
Thousands of Possum Tails Mysteriously Dot NZ Roads
A Virginia opossum is shown in this file photo.   (AP Photo)

Thousands of possum tails turned up mysteriously scattered across roads large and small in the Auckland and Northland regions of New Zealand over the weekend. Travelers who've counted them as frequently as every few hundred yards have been posting about them on Facebook, reports the New Zealand Herald, but no one is any closer to solving the mystery. "What would make someone want to go on a joy ride with a truck load of possum tails and scatter them like rose petals out the window from Northland down to here?" a Waitakere Ranges Local Board member asks. "It's just one of those absolutely bizarre mysteries that's more suited to April 1st than anything else."

While some have theorized that a possum culler was simply transporting the tails to show proof of his work for payment, there's no explanation for why the tails were removed or why so many of them accidentally fell. Meanwhile, the country's department of conservation calls the critters, which are bushy-tailed and arrived in the 1800s, not just a pest but "one of the greatest threats to our natural environment." They are thus slaughtered regularly, reports the BBC, and some have protested this because the government drops the poison 1080 from the air, which could harm more than just the possums. Still, most seem puzzled rather than concerned for the creatures. "It couldn't happen to a nicer animal is all that I've got to say," a local official tells the Herald. "If it means a lot of them have gone on to their heavenly future, that will [do us all] good." (One North Carolina town rings in the New Year with possums, and PETA doesn't like it.)

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