Woman gently shoos an opossum and its nine babies from her closet

Many Canadians have had to deal with unwanted wildlife nesting under porches or in attics, but few have had to deal with an opossum taking up residence in their closet. This was the surreal situation LA-based Tara McVicar found herself in on May 8th when she discovered a mother opossum and her nine pups nestled in a garbage bag in her “clutter room.”

After trying to usher the animal out with a broom—and then deciding that it wasn’t a good idea to “poke the possum”—McVicar left the mother to her own devices and was pleasantly surprised when she and her brood wandered out on their own. Upon seeing the nine young all latch themselves onto mom’s back, McVicar felt a little bit better about her own storage situation: “Now that’s clutter!”

While opossums are more prevalent in the States, North America’s only marsupial is slowly making its way north. For the last few decades the animal has been spreading out across Ontario and can now be found along Lake Erie from Windsor to St. Catharines, and north to Waterloo and Guelph. Finding an opossum in your house is not that unusual, as the nocturnal scavengers will set up camp in attics, garages, chimneys and under houses.

If you find one hanging out at home, don’t be frightened. Opossum are usually not aggressive. You can use a broom to gently usher them out a door, or just provide them with an exit and let them find their way out like McVicar did. Just make sure to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterword—it’s very rare for an opossum to transmit rabies, but they often have fleas, which can carry diseases harmful to people and pets.