Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Opossum... Overcoming a bad reputation

I'd like to introduce you to today's guest blogger.  Formerly Joey.  Now, Jill Opossum...

Hi everyone!  I'm wondering.  Why don't people like me?
I think I'm rather cute and I am extremely useful.

I was recently rescued from the gutter, having lost my way on my first night out of my den nest.  It's easy to get turned around when you strike out on your own. 
The world doesn't look so large while riding on mom's back.

At 7" long, I am capable of surviving all by myself.  I just need to learn about streets, cars, and such.

I am a Virginia opossum and the only marsupial found in the United States or Canada.  I come from the oldest surviving mammal family in the world, and can trace my family tree back to the age of the dinosaurs.  Pretty good lineage, I'd say.

Because we opossums have no method of food storage or energy storage, I needed to quickly find a food and water source.  Lucky for me, I was brought to the Taylor Certified Wildlife Habitat. 

I have a stable food source here.  And there are many containers with water.  I am also safe from some of the predators which usually kill us opossums: humans, cars, and dogs.  I need to be on the watch for owls though.

I can be such a helper.  I'm really a natural clean up engineer.  I eat so much of what you don't want in your yard...beetles, cockroaches, snails, slugs, mice, and rats.  I will scavenge in your garbage, if it is accessible. I know you don't like that.  But humans aren't the only ones that crumble when it comes to fast food, you know.

I'm smarter than a dog, more on the level of a pig.  (My kind have been tested for learning abilities.) I present far fewer health risks to humans than do dogs or cats.  I am more resistant to rabies than any other mammal, including man.  
I am gentle, very quiet, and really, prefer to be left alone.  I avoid confrontation.  My only defense is bluffing that I'm dead.  It is an unconscious act when I roll over, become stiff, and close my eyes or stare off into space.

I know that this "look" does nothing for my image problem.  I do show my 50 teeth when I'm frightened.  This only gives the appearance that I can defend myself, but I can't.  So please let me, or any of my fellow opossums, just mosey about. We won't hurt you, or dig in your soil, or make any trouble.

It's dark out now and time for me to get going.  I'll be cleaning up the stuff you don't want to see.  The only thanks I need is your respect and acceptance that I am an important part of the natural world.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol


  1. Dear Jill...thank for enlightening me! I was shamefully uninformed. I promise to be more calm and collected should I run into you....hopefully not literally, that would be awful. ��

  2. Dear Musiclover, I missed your comment, back in June. Have you had the opportunity to meet any of my friends since reading my guest post? I hope you were more comfortable seeing them, if you did. Jill