In highly populated areas, like the DFW Metroplex, urban wildlife runs rampant. Raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and many other animals dominate the urban and suburban ecosystems. Raccoons rifle through your trash, opossums linger in your yard, and squirrels leap between your trees because they have nowhere else to go. The vast majority of Dallas-Fort Worth is urban (or at least suburban) so finding a wooded area to call home isn’t exactly easy. Thankfully, DFW is not overrun by these vermin, like the city of Pawnee in NBC’s hit show Parks and Recreation.
In season five, episode eighteen “Animal Control,” Leslie Knope, assistant director of the Parks and Recreation department, visits the department of Animal Control and is horrified by what she finds. Two slackers run the department haphazardly, leaving bear traps on the floor and taping a dead bird to the wall so they can turn it into a whistle (and yes, it is as gross as it sounds). An opossum is sleeping in a cage on a desk and a goat walking around eating toilet paper. The two employees say they have “been meaning to call someone about [the vermin] but no one picks up the phone” – even though they are animal control. They are fired immediately and replaced, but due to their irresponsibility, the town is dominated by wild animals and this theme continues to exist throughout the show’s duration. In season two, episode 18 “The Possum” Fairway Frank bites the mayor’s dog and terrifies the people of Pawnee. Leslie is designated to create a task force to capture Fairway Frank to protect the people of Pawnee. In the beginning, Leslie is honored as Fairway Frank is on the most wanted pest list for the Park’s Department:
Leslie Knope: Fairway Frank is this awful possum who lives near the sixth hole of the public golf course. And he’s number three on the Parks Department’s most wanted pest list, right behind the bats who like to poop on the bell tower and Poopy, the raccoon who poops all over the high school cafeteria.
Leslie puts together a task for utilizing Andy and they go out to inspect the golf course for any signs of the creature causing so much terror. Andy jumps into action after seeing the possum he believed to be the infamous Fairway Frank and wrestling him to justice. In reality, Andy jumped on top of and grabbed the possum without harming him (do not try this in real life as either you, the opossum, or both of you will be severely injured).
Leslie: [to Brett and Harris] Okay, we may only get one chance to catch this thing, so we have to play it smart. You two flank the left, I’ll flank the right. Andy will come in t-
Andy Dwyer: AAAAAAAAAAH! [tackles the opossum]
Andy Dwyer: I got it.
However, soon after they see a second possum. Unsure of which possum is the infamous Fairway Frank, Leslie is not satisfied:
Leslie Knope: I can’t kill the possum ’cause it might be innocent. I can’t let the possum go because it might be guilty. Can’t make a good soup; can’t do a handstand in a pool; can’t spell the word lieutenant. There are a lot of can’ts in my life right now.
Making matters even worse, Leslie decides to entrust April with watching the possum until she figures out what she should do. After Andy catches one of the opossums, April is tasked with watching the possum while housesitting at Anne’s home and lets the possum out of its cage to get some water:
April Ludgate: [the possum is loose in Ann’s house] I let it out of its cage because it needed water, and I thought it would just drink out of the toilet or something, but then it ran off, and I couldn’t get back it in.
[Glances guiltily at a coffee mug ring on the table]
April Ludgate: He did that, too.
Leslie Knope: Oh, boy…
April Ludgate: Yeah, and then I opened all the doors because I thought it would just go outside, but it won’t leave the house! It must love tacky pictures of flowers.
The possum, being scared and most likely hungry, wreaks havoc in Ann’s home and April ends up hiding because she fears it and cannot get it to leave the house. Ann comes back home to find it in complete dismay:
Leslie: Possum, there was a possum. We captured a possum and we brought it into your house and it got out and it might have laid eggs in your bed.
Ann Perkins: What?
Leslie: And it went into your laundry and your kitchen and it touched all your bras. And I’m so sorry, it’s our fault we captured it and it got out and it ran around, and it was a possum, OK? April, run, April. Sorry, Ann. I love you!
Unlike Pawnee, here at Eco-Safe, we take wildlife control very seriously. While wildlife can sometimes be annoying or inconvenient, they are still living, breathing animals so we treat them as such. Whenever we set live animal cages, our technicians check the status of the cage once a day until an animal is caught. We also ensure the animal has access to water if it is trapped in a humane cage and if this happened with the wildlife department in Parks and Recreation, April never would have let the possum out so he could get water – or would she have? If wildlife is entering your attic or crawl space, we can also inspect for and find any entry points, sealing them up once the animal leaves.
While just about everyone can agree that most vermin are destructive, many people do not understand the benefits they can have as well. The best example of this is the opossum. Opossums eat as many ticks as they can find, which is great because ticks are common carriers of Lyme disease. Also, the likelihood of an opossum contracting rabies is slim to none; this is due to the difference in body temperature – their bodies are not warm enough to support the rabies virus. Essentially this means that if they are not destroying your property, they are beneficial to have near your home – if you don’t like ticks that is.
In “The Possum” episode of Parks and Recreation, it turns out that the mayor only wants Fairway Frank captured so that he could be turned into a trophy versus wanting to protect the people of Pawnee. Leslie thankfully cares for Fairway Frank too much to send him on his demise. In most cases, opossums are best left alone as they will typically never bother you. It is important to note that if any wildlife ever feels cornered or trapped, they can and will attack and can be very destructive just like how the possum destroyed Ann’s home. Opossums, however, do not lay eggs as Leslie suggests to Ann when apologizing to her. This is an important point to bring up as many misconceptions exist about wildlife and especially about possums (possums and opossums are different!). Overall, wildlife in the big city should be managed but it is not always necessary to do so. See an armadillo in the desert? That is normal. See some squirrels in a tree? Also, normal. Hearing noises in your attic or seeing gnaw marks in or around your home or business? Not normal! That is where we come in. Call or text our office at 214-358-5201 if you are worried about wildlife in your home or yard, and we will be happy to help!