My Latest Sighting: An Opossum
November 5, 2017 7:06am CST
One night last week, my cat crept up to my bedroom windowsill and just sat there watching something outside. When she's quiet like that, I know she spotted something that isn't normally out there. Once again, I read her body language correctly and looked outside just in time to see an opossum wandering off along the edge of the woods. One of the reasons there IS so much wildlife here is that the treeline is just about 15 feet from the back of this building. So if any wild creature wants to come out into a more open area, it has to come out of the woods somewhere back there, which puts it just a few feet from my windows. I had tossed some dried corn out there earlier that day, so that's probably what the 'possum was after. I'm not sure how long it was there, but I was at least lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it before it wandered off. The opossum is a marsupial, which also includes kangaroos, wallabees, koalas, wombats, and Tasmanian devils, according to Wikipedia. While it's not the most attractive creature in the world, it moves about mainly by night and feeds on rodents, snakes, reptiles, and dead animal remains. Like the kangaroo, the 'possum carries its newborn young in a pouch located on its abdomen. When threatened, it plays dead, emitting a foul odor that keeps other animals away. This wasn't the first time I'd seen an opossum, as they're quite widespread here now due to urban sprawl and the displacement caused by development. On those few occasions when I have seen one, I feel like I've been given a glimpse into a secret world that I know very little about. And I'm sure the 'possum wants to keep it that way, too! (Public Domain Image)
12 people like this
• Saco, Maine
Not sure I know what you mean about "regular." There is only one kind of opossum in the U.S. The Virginia opossum. All the others are native to Australia and not found here.
• Saco, Maine
@Susan2015 You're right. Possum is another word that people use instead of opossum. I just looked it up and found this. Hope that helps clear it up.
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• Bunbury, Australia
I missed this back when. Some of our marsupials have backward facing pouches (the wombat for instance) so the pouch doesn't fill with dirt when they're digging. With respect, I don't think the opossum is as pretty as our possums. Here is a brushtail possum and there is also a ringtail possum which is endangered. I'm not sure if the brushtail is or not.