What do you do when wildlife photobombs the Brooklyn townhouse you’re trying to sell?

By Jennifer White Karp  |
August 10, 2018 - 2:00PM

A close-up of the opossum making his way across the backyard fence.

Mark Shaw

The photo bomber wasn’t immediately apparent when the Bedford-Stuyvesant townhouse was being photographed. After all, opossums aren’t very large. Photographer Mark Shaw spotted him (or her?) later while reviewing the images, and alerted listing agent Janine Young of BOND New York.

They had an interesting situation on their hands: Would potential buyers be freaked out or charmed by the opossum?

“I sent the photo to the seller, who said, ‘Oh yes. That’s the neighborhood opossum.’ It was so Brooklyn,” Young says.

Apparently, this opossum is something of a local celebrity. Neighbors often hear him (or her?) fighting with other animals during summer nights. 


The backyard photo the opossum wandered into.


Mark Shaw

And what the sellers and their neighbors know is that opossums are actually good to have around. They are scavengers and eat ticks and cockroaches, for starters, and are highly immune to rabies, so even if you see these nocturnal creatures out and about during the day, like this one was, it is probably because they are searching for food, not because they are ill.

But on the other hand, these animals, which are about the size of a cat, are highly misunderstood, and people are fearful of them. Young ultimately decided not to include the photos in her listing of the townhouse at 264 Bainbridge St., which is now in contract.

“I didn’t want anyone to think it’s a rat, even though it has a great ecological benefit. You don’t want to limit your buyer pool,” she says. “A lot of people don’t know what it is.”

Most likely, the new buyers will soon find out.

If you want to spread the word about protecting wildlife in NYC, you can share this co-existence pledge or report a wildlife sighting.



Jennifer White Karp

Managing Editor

Jennifer steers Brick Underground’s editorial coverage of New York City residential real estate and writes articles on market trends and strategies for buyers, sellers, and renters. Jennifer’s 15-year career in New York City real estate journalism includes stints as a writer and editor at The Real Deal and its spinoff publication, Luxury Listings NYC.

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