©Steve Creek Outdoors
One night a few years ago our Pitbull Mix was whining to go out into the yard. I opened the door, heard a scuffle and then she ran past me back into the house carrying a large animal in her mouth. I thought it was a big gray Persian Cat. She ran down the hall and dropped it as far away from the door as she could get, then walked away leaving a full-grown opossum, lying on our bedroom floor.
What to do now?
It appeared uninjured. It was definitely “out,” but for how long? I knew that I had to act fast or I’d have a frightened animal running around the house which would not be good. I put the dogs out and got to work.
As luck always seems to have it - I was home alone, the house was on the market and everything we owned was either on display, pared down or had already been moved — so, no gloves, not even oven mitts, and no box handy that I could use for transport.I’d have to do this barehanded
With no other options handy and limited time, I sucked up my fear, and grabbed it by the base of the tail to carry it outside. It was heavier than I expected, but thankfully still unconscious. I had about a hundred feet to get to the front door. Please God I thought, let it stay “unconscious” the entire trip. I did wonder if it could climb up my arm and attack my face. I had to put it down to open the front door, and then pick it up again. Once outside, I set it in a protected spot just outside the door and waited. I wanted to make certain that it was okay, and I was also curious to see it “wake up.”
A few moments later, the opossum groggily staggered to it feet and shuffled off slowly into the night.
Some Opossum Facts:
- Playing Possum or Thanatosis, is an involuntary physiological response (like sneezing), rather than a conscious act (like blowing the nose).But the animal has to be really stressed in order for Thanosis to occur. Normally they will hiss first or try to escape
- Opossums are the only marsupial native to North America
- They lived 70 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era in the late Cretaceous period
- Adults weigh 5 to 15 lbs, while newborn babies are about the size of a honey bee
- Their life span is 3 years in the wild; longer in captivity
- They are often mistaken for a large rat, but they are not rodents, they are marsupials
- Opossum fur can be white or black, but is usually gray
- They are solitary, nocturnal and can live wherever there is food, water and shelter
- They can strike surprisingly fast like snake (I’ve been bit so I know!)
- They can swim
- Opossums are excellent climbers using their hands, feet and tail to grasp
Fact Source: http://www.planetpossum.com/facts.htm
The Trifecta of nocturnal visitors to our yard:
Baby Striped Skunks