Possom a.k.a. Opossom a.k.a Didelphimorphia
Opossom are not very common around here, and they’re not known by that name either – I tend to hear people poss’m when they mention them at all. I think it has been decades since I’ve seen one. The Wiki page shows a map with us at the northern extent of the possom’s range.
They’re a little bit cute, at the right angle. Perhaps America’s answer to the Chinese Panda Bear or Koalas. Sort of.
Will shot this one, with his camera, at the auto mechanic’s place in Berlin, Vermont. Perhaps the possom was there to apply for a job. They have little hands that can easily reach into the tight spaces in modern car bonnets.
This one did not play dead. After watching Will for a while it ambled off in search of more interesting sights. Another day, another Didelphimorphia.
Outdoors: 34°F/14°F Sunny, 2″ Snow
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F
Daily Spark: There is only one letter and barely that difference between girl and gilt.
I had a Samoyed once that caught a possum one night, I made her drop it when she came inside, she was mighty disappointed when she went out the next day and her possum wasn’t were she left it.
The only ones I see here out in the country are in coyote poo.
Cuter than a rat. Just barrely!!!!
A slow, giant rat is what I think when I see one. I have one in my feed room eating candy. I’ve heard they’re good eatin’ but I’ll stick to pork chops.
A former neighbor of mine had one of these show up in her basement. Freaked her out of course. I mean, who expects a possum in their house in Bethesda, Maryland?? (But then there are coyotes showing up in NYC these days, so there’s that….)
What is it with possums this year?? Our local valley chicken group had no less than 5 posts this week about possums. We’ve had one in the barn now for 2 months. We’ve seen them around, but never in winter. It MUST have been a hard winter this year.
Where I grew up in Santa Barbara ‘possums were common. When I was a boy, my brother and I would go out nights with a stub of candle, a couple of matches, and our dogs. Once the dogs located and ‘surrounded’ a possum, we’d light the candle to fix the possum’s attention and grab the critter by the tail. It was necessary to carry it at arm’s length and shake it out of slow motion curl-ups to avoid getting fanged. They have oodles of sharp teeth and nasty dispositions. Back then, we’d see possums sleeping in trees, hanging by their prehensile tails. Also, they ranged from maybe ten to twenty five pounds. Fifty years later, the species there sleep in holes or culverts, never in trees, and average no more than four pounds. Obvious genetic selection from human pressure.
My father always said that if you wanted to eat an opossum you had to clean it underwater, and he wouldn’t cook them, as they eat unclean things. Years later, I learned the hard way why you had to do the cleaning underwater. If you smell them whilst cleaning, you can’t eat “em! I used to put them on cornmeal and apples for a couple of weeks before slaughter. They need to be roasted on a grill because they are tremendously fatty. Good food, if some trouble to get to table safely.
I had a professor of biology in college who said that possums aren’t very evolved as mammals, not even having merged uro-genital tracts (two tips to their willies) but if you thought of them as highly-evolved reptiles they were pretty advanced.
We’ve Spring here, mid-seventies for several days now.
I had a pet ‘possum as a kid, and it was a wonderful and delightful animal to have. I found a dead mother in the woods with a bunch of babies in her pouch. We tried to save them, but all died but the biggest one. We kept her as an indoor per for years and named her Nipper for all her teeth. Possums have the 2nd most teeth of any mammal on earth– 52. Only a whale has more, with 54. Nipper was gentle, cleaner than a cat, paper-trained, and loved to be picked up and stroked. They’re omnivores and will eat a variety of food scraps and dry dog food, too. She lived 4-5 years with us before she became lame in her hind legs and we had to put her down. But, what a great learning experience about the beauty of all God’s creation. I’d love to have another ‘possum again, although now, the Government says I don’t have the right to own a wild animal– only they do. But, that’s a discussion for another time.
It is a shame how our government is inserting itself between people and nature, how they have stolen ownership of all wild animals and ban people from interacting. Humanity is losing for this.
Um…yeah, I don’t think a lion out on the savannah really cares about “what human owns me”….just cares about what it’s next snack is.
If you see an opossum out in the day, don’t get too close. Around here that usually means they are rabid, or have some sort of illness, and should be avoided/killed as soon as possible. They are nocturnal creatures – we usually have them wandering around after after midnight. Not saying that this is always the case but you can never be too safe.
Rabies was Will concern too. In this case we don’t think this one has rabies as it was checking out a potential food source, stopped and observed Will with attention and then after seeming to satisfy itself it walked away. All very different behavior than a rabid animal so hopefully it is fine.
I also think it might be opossum “rut” – it is at least with skunks and squirrels right now. Love makes animals do strange things.
We had barn cats growing up, and possums would come up to the house to eat the cats’ food at night.
A few years ago, we had a mother and babies living under our mobile home, and the babies learned to get up into our sink cabinet in the kitchen (we had a really small gap where the water pipes came in) and get into the garbage. We eventually live trapped 6 young – some of them were cute. Released them several miles away so they wouldn’t come back (and we also spray foamed the gap in the cabinet).
They are cute, but lethal to our waterfowl and poultry stock. Their little hands are better than racoons at prying open formerly-closed fences, doors and windows. They are not on the top of our predator list, but come in close: Raccoon, Fox, Possum, Hawk/Eagle, Barre Owl
Like the owls they only attack at night, but in the suburbs they are also daytime animals. When I lived in Los Angeles in an urban area, we had one that would come out long before sunset and hang out in the tree outside our kitchen – hoping for a snack from our neighbor. He usually got it.
That neighbor loved feeding the possum and other large rodents (coons, skunks and ground hogs are all quite common in LA). He even had a pet hedgehog he kept in a large cage in his backyard. Sad thing is, I think the possum ate his pet hedgehog. The neighbor did not talk about it, but quietly resented the possum after the hedgehog disappeared. I never asked. He loved that little thing.
We have a glut of opossums here in Iowa. Driving from one town to another, 25 miles, we might see two dead possum (and 3 or 4 other dead road kill – skunks are popular too), this time of year.
Fortunately, it’s extremely rare for opossums to get rabies. Some think it’s due to their very low body temperature.