1. Danny boy, “‘possum”. Officially the American critter is an opossum, but the Australian one is a possum. For the difference, see this:

  2. Seriously, you guys, lay off the possum-bashing, okay? Possums are as inoffensive as anything. They do their level best to stay out of humans’ way, and if you do confront one, more likely than not he’ll play dead. And if he did bite you (an extremely rare occurrence) he won’t give you any diseases.

    On the good side, they come into your yard, eat mice, rats, snails, slugs,lizards, frogs/toads, snakes, and fleas and ticks, and when they’ve cleaned everything up, they move on. Two or three days max, usually.

    I have one that lives in the winter in my garage with the feral cats, and everybody gets along just fine, except if the possum delivers babies, because the babies look like rats to the cats. Well, and to me, too.

    A gardener’s best friend, the possum.

  3. That’s great Chak, unless you have an outside dog. Way back we had a German Shepherd mix that loved being outdoors, and we had a good sized fenced in yard. So that’s where he spent most of his time. One night at 2 AM or so we heard him going crazy barking. I ran out because it was a very residential neighborhood, and our neighbors surely weren’t happy. There was a possum on the other side of the fence, just standing there teasing our dog. I suppose I should blame the dog, but I never do that.

  4. @ Chak – They may be “inoffensive”, but they are ugly. As a kid I was scared out of my wits by a ‘possum that suddenly appeared at the window of my bedroom. The window was closed, but seeing a ‘possum yawn from less than two feet away was a memorable experience (remarkably similar to the picture that Arthur posted).

  5. Kilby, Apparently beauty is in the eye…. Once you get used to them, they’re downright cute. As long as they don’t open their mouths.

  6. @ Chak – Unfortunately, that’s exactly what this one did: it crawled into view onto the ledge outside the window (just two feet from where I was lying on the bed), and immediately opened its mouth as wide as it would go. It looked about as appetizing as the pit into which Han Solo was pushed in “The Return of the Jedi”.
    It was only several years later that I realized that it was only a yawn; at the time (never having seen a live ‘possum before) I was sure that it was full frontal attack mode, and I wasn’t quite sure whether the window glass would be strong enough.

  7. Back when I was living in a college slum one summer, I had left the front door open for air circulation. I looked up from my bedroom to see a possum sauntering down the hall. I followed it into the kitchen, thinking I would test the theory that they will play dead if approached. The critter backed up into a corner, mouth wide open, hissing at me. I decided to go back to my bedroom and let it do it’s thing. It did leave eventually. Now raccoons, those furry critters with oh so cute little hands and masked face. You want to give them plenty of room, because they can be nasty little buggers.

  8. A little late (I missed this discussion, somehow):

    I LOVE ‘possums. Had one run up my leg once (not joking; we were having a bonfire and as I was standing very still, maybe it thought I was a tree??). We fed a litter under the deck the next year. That same year, my stepdaughter was a ‘possum for Halloween, altho folks thought she was a mouse and she got pretty indignant about that. Note the “baby ‘possum” on her shoulder . . .

    My Daisy2Legs (@RB) brought home from the backyard a ‘possum that was bigger than she was, and also a baby one. Despite her ‘pawdicap’, she was the fiercest hunter and even treed a raccoon.

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