Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baby Opossum

It seems people have a natural aversion to opossums, it has always been beyond my comprehension to understand why. Many will say they look like overgrown rats....does this sweet face look like a rat? I say possums are awesome! They are Missouri's only marsupial (they carry their babies in a pouch) When those babies are born they are the size of a raisin and must find their own way to the pouch where they will attach themselves to a nipple and remain there until they are about 2 or 3 months old, then they will start to venture out of the pouch and ride on mommy's back for outings into the world. They are also the only animal in Missouri with a thumb, this allows them to grip as they climbs trees, not to mention it comes in handy when grabbing things. Just try to grab something without your thumb (not as easy as it sounds right?) They have never been found to carry rabies, as some other mammals can. Opossums also perform a very good service for us by cleaning up roadkill and other dead or decaying animal matter. They are not very aggressive and will usually avoid human contact (if you leave kitty food out expect a nighttime visit) When truly frightened they will faint, often times this is what people refer to as "playing dead" actually they are just so scared they faint from fright. If you get the chance, the next time you see a possum out for his nighttime walk, instead of shooing him away (or worse); instead watch him, maybe you too will begin to like this unique animal in Missouri.

2 comments:

  1. Hello, I have been reading alot about Opossums. I have never came across one before nor took interest because I have never seen one. That was until the other night. I had been hearing some noises and did not know what it was. I thought it was a rat. Well, I had sticky traps out and found a tail of an animal that I was unsure of. Im guessing the animal Bit off its tail to get away from the sticky trap. Another night came about and I heard another noise. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it but it was a baby Opossum stuck on a sticky trap and I cried as soon as I seen it. I felt so horrible and felt as if it was my fault because the little wonderful creature was trapped and could possibly die because he was trapped. I got him off the sticky trap and I washed him and dried him and put him in a box with some rags. During the night he had escaped. I went looking for sticky traps and found another trap with another Opossum on it. Need not to worry I did not put these traps out to catch Opossums and the traps were already out before I discovered the little guy. I yet again washed this second little animal and dried him and put him in a box and he died and I cried. I do not think it was the same one that got away. Well, this is in the period of three days and during the night I was watching tv and seen something in the corner of my eye another baby Opossum. This one was not on a sticky trap, He was just walking around being nosey and curious. I had made sure that I did not have any more traps out. Today the little guy came out and I put some chips out and actually sat and watched this lovely thing eat right in front of me. I had lured him in a box. The little guy did not have any sticky trap on him so this was a different Opossum. He was not injured or hurt. The past couple of days since I seen the first one I have not found the Mother. I read some more about the creatures and was trying to figure out what to do with him. I did not want to let him go outside because I thought what if its never seen the outside and it was born inside a home. Well I really care for the animal and they need certain foods that they know they need to survive so I let him go so nature could take its course. I think it was the best thing for him. They are such wonderful things. I have learned about them and will continue to learn as much about them as I can. Farewell little guy I said and I wish you the best and Pray you make it out there..

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  2. After reading your comment, I am uncertain as to whether you have an opossum in your house or some other creature. Opossums carry their young in a pouch until they are 2 or 3 months old, at that age they will ride on moms back. It is possible for them to lose their grip on her fur and fall off, but the chances of that happening in your home are slim. If these truly are running around inside your house, my guess is you have mice or rat babies that are venturing out and getting caught on your sticky traps. Is there anyway you can take a picture of one and send it to my email? MOpiggys@aol.com

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