Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's an Opossum! It's an Opossum!

We are watching through the window now. It's a huge Opossum. He is chewing up the sunflower seeds, then spitting the shells back out as the little grass balls I wrote about last night. That's why the birds pick the seeds back out and eat them--they're not picking at poop!

Opossums look like big rats. They're the size of a cat with long snouts, black ears and silver-tipped fur. They are not unattractive, just different. They make their home wherever they can find food and water, generally in dead tree stumps near food sources. I suspect this one lives across the street in the forest.

Opossums will lie down, close their eyes and let their tongue droop when frightened so they look dead, but the one outside my window is just watching us. Apparently, we don't frighten him! They also like to hang upside down by their tails.

Opossums are the oldest mammals in Texas. They have remained completely unchanged for fifty million years. It is believed they acquired their names from Captain John Smith of the Jamestown Colony.

Unfortunately, they have a very short life span because they have many predators. Most die because they are hit by cars, though. They become frightened, lie down, pretend they are dead, and the car hits them. They are also eaten by owls, dogs, and coyotes. Opossums are also immune to rattlesnake venom and they eat snakes!

They're intelligent creatures and can easily locate and remember where they've found food--that's why he keeps coming back here night after night. He knows I'll leave food for him. They also like peanut butter!

He's so cute!


Bungavidus said...

I do not know you but I came across your page while googling Opossume's and just wanted to comment on how great your pictures you have posted here. They made me smile and you write cute facts about the cute animals. Love & Blessings......

Darla Sue Dollman said...

Oh thank you so much! I am honored. I love all of God's creatures and write about them every time I meet a new one. O'Possums are fascinating to me--they are so cute! But we did notice when we were watching through the window that O'Possums have sharp teeth! I wish they were the cuddly type of creatures!