Quick, quick, time's a-ticking here...
Personally, I always go for the "aw it's got soft fur, I wonder if I can pat it?" approach every time. I'd gone out to check the rabbit was okay, and the possum had been digging around in the shed and I got between it and its tree. It ran along until it bumped into my leg and froze, and I further immobilised it with the bright light of a 9-LED torch, then patted it. Result? Possum (not sure if it was Peewun or Peetoo) shat kittens and blue lights and shot past me and into the tree. But not *too* far up, because it was curious about me too.
So I patted it again and it jumped out of the tree - "Damn! That thing is in the tree with me!!!" - and we were back in substantially the same situation, except that this time I shone the torch on the ground in front of it and held it an inch from the PeeX's nose. It got all excited about the smell of aluminium and grabbed the torch and sniffed it all over, nearly wrestled it out of my hand. Meanwhile, I got another pat in and can report that possum fur is lovely, soft but with good spring to it.
Then PeeX shot up the tree again and again stopped about four feet up so it could suss me out. This time when I patted it, it jumped and landed on my foot. And got such a shock that it shot right back up the tree again. This time I grabbed its tail and that decided the little possum, and it shot up to a safe height of eight feet and sat there looking me over, then glided out of sight.
Yet another reason why I love this place! I have magpies clowning on the lawn, kookaburras that will fly down and pinch bait out of your hand on the wing, possums that amuse me hugely, and of course I have the interactions of Ghostie and Peta: She adores him and follows him all around the lounge room and kitchen, he feels crowded and smacks her (no claws, just a lift under the ear type of smack) when she gets too close.
Trish asked me a few weeks back if I was lonely out here, I think she can see the answer. I rarely turn on the TV because there's so much playing out amongst the animals. Two nights ago I went to check on the bunny and there was a little black shape on the far side of the Peta Rabbit Lifetime Hutch trying to reach a paw in as far as it could , to hook out a piece of apple. Which Peta was still chewing on the other side of, mind you.
I get a bit keen to talk to people sometimes, but there's a mobile phone and a VOIP phone, and there's Internet contacts galore. And I have relatives 15km away, friends in all the adjacent houses, and of course the Teddlesruss Amazing Zoo to keep me amused. Bring me another beer!