For The Joy of Animals: Lip Smackingly Cute Possum

There is something about the sight of a Possum that usually makes me sad.  Mostly because it’s almost always dead on the side of the road.  But also because a little part of me is secretly relieved that what is died isn’t someone’s cat or dog.  The relief is wrong — but it’s always there.

The few times I’ve seen live possums at night, when the sudden flash of headlights brings a long snout, whitish body, gleaming reddish eyes, and long rat like tail to life are usually fleeting.   My lone encounter with a startled possum who barred teeth and hissed was memorable and not something I wish to soon repeat, thank you.

So color me surprised when I started watching this video and found myself grinning from ear-to-ear (click on picture below to watch Youtube video).

Who knew they could look so endearingly cute with their miniature human like fingers (with sharp nails) — and thumbs, and those adorably awkward looking ears that look like they belong on a bat.

Learning that Possums can savor a strawberry was heartwarming, but googling that they kill snakes made me appreciate their neighborly presence and cheer on their nocturnal hunts.

Unfortunately, the next time I see a possum it will probably still be dead.  But I will now mourn each loss with humble sadness and a little smile in remembrance of this video…

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8 Comments

  1. The first time I saw one was nose to nose when I investigated a rustling in the bushes! it was not a good 1st experience! But since then learning that they love to catch mice and snakes — and protect avocado pickers by doing so — are such great moms, etc — They are truly endearing. One made a nest in our garage for a season, and kept all of our fallen plums cleaned up. She had babies and they were so sweet! Do you know they hum to their babies, and call them sort of Marco Polo like? So fun! 🙂

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    1. They do and it is so sweet! Apple Plum — that’s what we named the mommy who nested in our garage — would go out to forage in our side garden and leave the babies behind. But one adventuresome soul would leave the nest and wander about — tiny little fellow. That is when we heard the Marcoi polo thing. She she sound out a bird-like chirp, and he would answer. By repeating this, she would locate him and pick him up and take him back to the nest. S=After a few rounds of this over several days, she started carting the entire group on her back everywhere she went. Sweet, affectionate mommy! 🙂

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      1. Wow! That is a wonderful story and lucky you getting to glimpse this mother in action. Possums are my new favorite animal. Thanks again for sharing this. It really made my day thinking of her.

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  2. We used to have a possum at the zoo as an outreach animal, meaning people could touch him. His name was Ernest T, after the Mayberry character. The first one our zoo had was named Opie, so the trend to name them after Andy Griffith characters was launched. Ernest was the funniest guy and so sweet. He would sit on my raptor glove (you’re right, those nails are sharp) and climb to the highest point. They only live a couple of years because their metabolism is so fast. Doesn’t matter how well they are cared for, they live four years or less.

    Weird note. Because they are native species, our wildlife agency will not let us keep a possum that is deemed releasable. A three-legged, albino possum could theoretically survive because they are so, so tough, so we couldn’t keep them. It is easier in our state to get a tiger for the zoo than it is to keep a possum. Weird, huh?

    Baby season is from April-August, so if you are very brave, if you see one on the side of the road, you can check to see if it has babies in its pouch. Sometimes they survive impact and can be taken to a rehabber!

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    1. Amazing! I had no idea they had such a short life-span. Now I especially don’t want to see them dead on the side of the road with their short life made even shorter and I don’t want to have to check for babies. I hope I can be that brave. I guess I should make sure there is a rehabber, just in case…

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