Sunday, February 19, 2012
Since this is the weekend for the Great Backyard Bird Count, I've kept an eye on the feeders out my window, with little luck. Few birds have come to eat in our yard. But a motion caught my eye, and when I focused, I saw a POSSUM!
I know they come to yards, and will eat almost anything. One time I found one in a garbage can in the garage where it couldn't climb out, and was proud that I did not scream. We had to turn the garbage can over and leave so it could escape. And, boy, did it smell!
As this one slowly walked across the yard, I wondered what it was doing out in the afternoon. A closer look found a distinct split in its left ear. Looks like it's been in a fight sometime.
In fact, this possum has a spot on its rear with very sparse fur, and a very raw, red, bleeding area. Either it's been in a fight, or got caught trying to squeeze under a fence. It sniffed around as I approached, camera in hand, but didn't seem too upset or panicky and didn't try to run away.
A quick look on the Internet found several interesting facts. Possessing a furry tail, the true "possum" belongs to the Phalangeridae family within the Marsupialia order and is primarily found in New Guinea, Australia, Indonesia and other islands in the Pacific region. With their signature bare tail, the "opossum" is North America’s only known marsupial; this means the animal carries its young in a pouch much like the Australian kangaroo. Both the possum and the opossum are nocturnal, nomadic omnivores and live on an expansive diet that includes insects, frogs, birds, snakes and fruits. The opossum is primarily dark grey in color but some resemble cinnamon, and white opossums are known to exist. The possum and the opossum are both hunted animals and possess an instinct to play dead, or “play possum” when threatened. I'm glad it didn't view me as a threat!