Tuesday, July 20, 2010
One time we really did catch a possum, though, and it was two or three years ago. We caught the possum and we killed it, or at least we thought we did because it looked dead and it smelled dead, too. It was just lying there on the ground, and then it started smelling kind of icky, so we weren't sure what to do with our possum. Then Mom came out with a flashlight and looked at it, and she thought it was dead, too, because it really did look dead.
So anyway, last night I decided to do some research on opossums, and I learned several very interesting things. One is that these animals have a special talent for pretending to be dead, and this is called "playing possum." And it turns out to be more than just deciding to lie very still. Because it's something that the possum's body does without the possum even having to think about doing it. So the possum actually is sort of unconscious, and its lips are drawn back, and it might foam at the mouth and let out some stinky fluid stuff from its butt. Then after a while, when it's safe again, the possum wakes up and trots off.
Here's a picture of baby possums inside their mom's pouch. She is sleeping in a safe place, so the pouch got relaxed and you can see inside it.
Possums aren't fussy about what they eat. They like stuff like roadkill, frogs, insects, birds, snakes, small mammals, earthworms, apples, and persimmons. They also like to go dumpster diving for leftover people food or pet food.