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Old 10-07-2013, 01:09 PM
 
624 posts, read 810,259 times
Reputation: 975

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Thanks for all of your terrific stories!

Like another poster here (sorry...hard to scroll back on my phone), I volunteer at a wildlife rehab. I haven't done opossums yet, but will next litter season. I've been up to my eyeballs in squirrels, though. Just about to "graduate" my last baby this week. I look forward to working with cranky little opossum babies. I first found out about my local nature center when I found a dead mother opossum in the road with live babies trying to climb out of her pouch. I was on a morning walk and put all of the survivors in my baseball cap to carry them home. Even with their eyes closed they showed me their teeth and hissed. Adorable!

I've had great relationships with many opossums that have lived under my house over the last few years. I first found out I was a hostess when one got into my enclosed back porch and got stuck behind my dryer. He looked up at me and carried on like a cornered tiger, but when I reached down wearing a leather glove to pull him out, he just went limp.

Because I spend so much time outside at night, sitting quietly, I guess they just learn that I'm no threat. I even had one run under my feet to hide when a large owl swooped down to catch him. I was in awe of the trust...even if it was mostly just desperation. He could've run under my grill cover, which was equidistant, but he chose to seek my protection.

Somebody mentioned falling out of trees...that always makes me laugh. It's amazing that opossums have managed to survive at all with their slow gait, poor vision, weak jaw pressure, fleshy and awkward hands, and lousy balance. That's part of why I am so determined to protect them. Our shared world is very dangerous to such a bumbling beast!

Next time you see a spring road-kill opossum, stop and check the pouch. Many babies survive the mother's death only to die from starvation or from predators/another car once they crawl out.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:12 PM
 
624 posts, read 810,259 times
Reputation: 975
Quote:
Originally Posted by SATX56 View Post
There are many throughout our neighborhoods here. They live in and under our sheds and portable buildings. They're harmless as long as you don't corner them. Their first defense is to run and then play possum (for real). If cornered they will snarl and hiss but they really want no trouble. Cats mostly ignore them and dogs might chase them. They will stink up whatever they live in though.

Love your photos! Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:33 PM
 
2,808 posts, read 3,087,546 times
Reputation: 1255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slithytoves View Post
Thanks for all of your terrific stories!

Like another poster here (sorry...hard to scroll back on my phone), I volunteer at a wildlife rehab. I haven't done opossums yet, but will next litter season. I've been up to my eyeballs in squirrels, though. Just about to "graduate" my last baby this week. I look forward to working with cranky little opossum babies. I first found out about my local nature center when I found a dead mother opossum in the road with live babies trying to climb out of her pouch. I was on a morning walk and put all of the survivors in my baseball cap to carry them home. Even with their eyes closed they showed me their teeth and hissed. Adorable!

I've had great relationships with many opossums that have lived under my house over the last few years. I first found out I was a hostess when one got into my enclosed back porch and got stuck behind my dryer. He looked up at me and carried on like a cornered tiger, but when I reached down wearing a leather glove to pull him out, he just went limp.

Because I spend so much time outside at night, sitting quietly, I guess they just learn that I'm no threat. I even had one run under my feet to hide when a large owl swooped down to catch him. I was in awe of the trust...even if it was mostly just desperation. He could've run under my grill cover, which was equidistant, but he chose to seek my protection.

Somebody mentioned falling out of trees...that always makes me laugh. It's amazing that opossums have managed to survive at all with their slow gait, poor vision, weak jaw pressure, fleshy and awkward hands, and lousy balance. That's part of why I am so determined to protect them. Our shared world is very dangerous to such a bumbling beast!

Next time you see a spring road-kill opossum, stop and check the pouch. Many babies survive the mother's death only to die from starvation or from predators/another car once they crawl out.

How did you get along with the squirrels? They can be downright sassy. Think they rule the roost. And don't ever trust an alleged "squirrel-proof" bird feeder. Those squirrels pass every test challenge.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
3,727 posts, read 5,423,308 times
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As so many others have commented, possums are really pretty inoffensive and harmless creatures. That hissing and growling and showing of teeth is all bluff. Cats and possums actually usually get along quite well together, sharing food next to one another not uncommon. If there ever is a spat, the cat will be the winner, the docile possum is not a brawler.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:51 PM
 
624 posts, read 810,259 times
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Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
How did you get along with the squirrels? They can be downright sassy. Think they rule the roost. And don't ever trust an alleged "squirrel-proof" bird feeder. Those squirrels pass every test challenge.
If you get them when their eyes are still closed, you're essentially "mama" until about 7 weeks, when they start to get twitchy and "squirrelly". Get them after the eyes open and it can be harder to handle them, depending on gender, individual personality, and robustness of health. I've had a couple that remained gentle and cooperative until 10 weeks/8 grams of formula, which is when they go back for pre-release outdoor acclimation. But most are acting very wild and wary by then.

I solved my feeder problem by using the squirrel-proof (ha!) feeders plus a big feeder platform just for the squirrels. They lay off the hanging feeders if they have an easy alternative...especially if it's got apple chunks, corn, and nuts to fill them up.

One thing I've learned from this experience is that squirrels poop A LOT. I'm amazed we aren't all ankle-deep in droppings!
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:16 PM
 
1,288 posts, read 2,487,776 times
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Originally Posted by Slithytoves View Post
I am a New Yorker transplanted in SC. I had only rarely seen opossums in my home state, so I just thought it was cool when I caught a glimpse of one and most people seemed to agree. Down here, people seem to really hate them and/or fear them, even if they haven't had any problems or damage from an unwelcome visitor.
Opossums are like so ugly and stuff. I don't understand why you like them. They are like ugly and they like to attack smaller animals, like birds, cats, and stuff. They are like so big and look like the ugly version of rats.

Last edited by Timing2012; 10-07-2013 at 07:35 PM..
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
25,141 posts, read 30,041,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timing2012 View Post
Opossums are like so ugly and stuff. I don't understand why you like them. They are like ugly and they like to attack smaller animals, like birds, cats, and stuff. They are like so big and look like the ugly version of rats.
Like, what do opossums like to eat?

Like this:


Facts About Opossums : What Do Opossums Eat? - YouTube
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:27 AM
 
Location: FL
1,118 posts, read 1,807,293 times
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Lived around opossums all my life the only problems I've ever had with them is avoiding them on the road

About a week ago I was walking my GSD mix who late at night (I work 2nd shift), she stopped in a dark area a couple of feet in front of me to poke something - she loves to poke things! I couldn't see what it was at first, but as I stepped to the side I realized it was a huge opossum. It didn't move or protest although it could easily have run. I'm guessing it knows that humans in this area are creature friendly and it has plenty of cat food as some residents put out food.

When we lived in the country we had one that used to eat right next to our cats - we put food out for any strays that people dropped off and our cats ate it as well. Always made me laugh to drive up and see the cats asleep on the swing and the opossum munching away at the buffet!

One last story, a colleague found a baby that somehow lost it's mother so she fostered it. She said it made a nice, affectionate pet and was litter trained. It got along with her cat and dog as well as her human family.
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:31 AM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,848,287 times
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One thing I don't think anyone mentioned is that it's extremely rare for possums to carry rabies because their natural body temperature is higher than most mammals.

They're really quite gentle animals. Slithy, I've also worked with wildlife rehab and have fed baby possums...they are so ugly they are cute! I've also trapped and relocated a couple of them for other people. I personally don't mind having them around; I'm near the end of a road with woods so we do get wildlife.

I have several around my house. Last year and until early summer, a very large possum was showing up nightly to eat with the feral cats that we feed (and TNR so no lectures please. ) The cats didn't mind it one bit and they'd all eat side by side. I could get within a few feet of it before it would scoot off. I called it Fat Butt because it was a very large possum and almost completely white. Unfortunately my dogs have killed a couple of dumber possums that come into the yard when the dogs are out.

Many years ago a friend and I were driving and noticed that a dead possum on the road had tiny babies clinging to her. We wrapped the poor dead mama and her babies (the size of small shrimp, completely blind and hairless) in a blanket and took them all to a wildlife rehab.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:02 AM
 
Location: In the realm of possiblities
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Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
And the rest of the family loved to eat them.

Jed loved Grannie's Hog Jowls, and Possum Grits.
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