Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Oh Possum!

After a reference to possums by the animal control officer who visited us the other day, I got curious and did a little research.
 I think they could give tree sloths a run for their money.
 They’re not exactly the most driven, type-A members of the animal kingdom. Their world is a placid one as they amble from trash can to trash can.

1.     While they will eat mice, frogs, or other small animals, they’re more likely to lose in a battle with a dog or cat. If attacked, they put on a show worthy of Broadway, but they don’t actually do anything.

     In fact their go-to tactic is to run away or play dead.

2.     They’re not picky eaters, and in fact really, really like canned cat food. 
   Less effort.

3.     They’re not diggers either – probably     too much exertion – but they will take over holes dug by other, more industrious creatures.

4.     They’re as quiet as the mice they consume. If frightened, a possum might hiss or even growl like a cat, but don’t worry, it’s all just drama. (Refer to fact # 1) Maybe they’re just wanna-be cats because they’ve also been known to purr over their young.

5.     They’re immune to snakebite because of their own low body temperature and metabolic rate. Snakes probably think they’re too lethargic to be any fun. Any snake worth his fangs prefers a little panic, a little fancy footwork.

6.     The males are called jacks, the females jills, the babies joeys, but how great is it that a group of them is called a passel?

7.     One thing possums really do well is climb. They have opposable thumbs, making them fine candidates for any number of entry-level office jobs – and their prehensile tail would mean they might not even need their own cubicle. They could just hang from the ceiling.

Actually, they’d probably be pleasant work-mates, if a little lazy.
They’re quiet, they're non-aggressive, and they could police up the break-room trash in no time.

8.     The maternity/paternity leave might be a tipping point, though. They have litters of 6-25 babies as many as 3 times a year.


  1. Are you missing teaching? ;-)

  2. The "zoo lady" brings a possum to the library one day during summer activities. According to my two, "boring!"

  3. I did not know all that about a possum. I had a pet baby possum when I was a teenager, an older teenager. I named it Alvin. It would hang by it's tail from my finger. Then I joined the Air Force and left Alvin behind.

  4. I have possums that frequent my compost pile in the winter, leaving the signature trail in the snow of tail dragging between footprints. They look sort of cute in your photos, but the ones I see are bedraggled, hairy, and not very attractive! Fun facts.

  5. I like possums. I had them living under the city house which was on pier and beam. They eat snails and stuff and are basically harmless. Occasionally I would have an encounter with a young one. We had possums under the country house when we first moved here. I guess we still do but I never see them now.


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