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Mel The Opossum

Mel is an adult wild possum. He found me over a year ago sitting on my back deck, I can't explain it but we formed a bond right away. I think it's mainly because when I speak to the critters I speak in a low calm voice. Everything is vibrations and animals can pick up on these vibrations. If you say a negative word it will carry a lower confused unsettling vibration. Whereas, if you say a positive word like love or beauty; it will carry a higher vibration. I feel that it calms the animal if you speak lower tone and positive words. Most people get excited when they see an animal and naturally their voice gets in a higher pitch but this really startled an animal. They will receive and feel the excitement and they don't know what to do with it.

When you encounter an animal for the first time... always keep a smooth tone while talking to them.

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I fell in love with opossums after observing over 4000 hours of how they live in the wild. I think more folks are starting to understand that they are one of the good guys. Still many people think that opossums are rodents and do harmful things to them. Please help me be their voice and help spread the positive purpose of opossums. Opossums are marsupials. They are related to the kangaroo and koala family.

 

Mamma possums carry their young in her pouch. A neighborhood with possums are a cleaner neighborhood then without possums. They eat ticks which helps us to keep lyme's disease down! Most importantly they are scared of everything. When you think a possum is playing possum.. their body actually goes into fight or flight mode and they faint causing them to be knocked out for hours. This is how their body tries to protect itself from predators. It is very unlikely that opossums have rabies. Their body temperature is too low for the virus to survive. Animals such as raccoons and bats, however, are far more likely to be carriers.

I created these treebeds for the opossums, so they didn't have to balance on the branches while they slept.

 

Opossums get such a bad rap. Did you know that these creatures shared the earth with dinosaurs over 70 million years ago? They can NOT jump or run. They move slowly and if they need to get away from something...it's more of a fast walk.

Let's continue with facts and debunk some common Opossum myths. While opossums do have a "rat-like" tail they are NOT rats and they are NOT rodents. They are Marsupials. They do not hang by their tails from trees and attack or sleep that way (only in cartoons) People say they are rats and are dirty animals, but did you know that they are very much like housecats, constantly grooming when not eating or sleeping. I've witnessed this too. As soon as they are finished eating. They will groom themselves. It's so cute!

Opossums do NOT carry rabies. It's very rare because they have one of the lowest body temperatures of any mammal.

They are afraid of EVERYTHING. When they get startled. They will freeze at first hoping that whatever is there won't see them. They have poor vision. If that doesn't work.. they will show their teeth or hiss but this is ONLY a bluff. (If you couldn't run from danger wouldn't you show your teeth!) The only way a possum will attack is if it's being attacked first. People are under the impression that possums will pretend dead if they are in harms way, but the fact is... they get SO SCARED THAT THEY ACTUALLY FAINT! These poor guys :( When this happens it can last up to a few hours, so their body's way of protecting itself is to release a foul odor to keep them safe until they wake back up.

Opossums eat fruits, insects, snails, slugs, eggs, mice, rats, fish, frogs, crayfish, and carrion. they also eat snakes (opossums are immune to all types of snake venom, except that of the coral snake), If for no other reason than pest control, opossums are great to have around!

I've saved the best for last. Opossums can have as many as twenty-five babies, but only thirteen will nurse from its mother because she only has thirteen nipples. Three to six will most likely survive.

Opossums babies are pink and about the size of a jellybean. I had no idea that the mothers can carry them in a pouch like a kangaroo. The pouch keeps them warm and nourished. It can close so tightly the mother can even swim without getting them wet.

At two months old, the mouse-sized babies may leave the pouch for short periods. At three months, they will crawl all over their mother, clutching fur tightly with all four feet and tail, riding on sides and back, as she forages for food nightly. At four months they are ready to be on their own.

I'm just fascinated that these beautiful creatures have stayed around for so long. It's pretty amazing when you think about how slow they are. They're doing something right.

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