Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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.