Monday, April 13, 2009

An Update on Waddles the Opossum

Aunt Bob is right (Aunt Bob is always right), it's an opossum. Unless you're in Australia.

I learned a lot about opossums ("commonly also called possums") in a few clicks. I guess this is what you people who write real blogs would call "research" and you do it before hitting the publish button. Oh, you.

And Waddles (I named him Waddles, because Tammy told me to name him) (and he's a boy, because I say he is) is a marsupial - thank you very much - not a rodent. The only marsupial found in North America.

Waddles has lots of teeth and a robust immune system and is about eight times less likely to be infected with rabies than a wild dog, thanks to his lower-than-average body temperature. His prehensile tail and pointy nose may make him look like a rat, but "Nature's Little Sanitation Engineer" will actually eat rats and mice.

Opossums do not hang from their tails. (Waddles is rolling his eyes at you for making that assumption - that's such an ignorant stereotype, and he's offended by your lack of effort to get to know him better.) They are solitary and nomadic, do not dig holes or burrows, and have opposable thumbs on their feet.

Hey, guess what my county's Animal Control will do for you if you report an opossum in your carport? Hmmm, so many hands . . . You in front. Yes, You. Tammy.

Right. Nothing.

Animal Control suggests you contact a shelter for a trap, or call a pest company, unless the animal appears rabid or is in the living quarters of the home.

I'm sure Bump just did that funny little icky-shiver thing at the thought of Waddles in our living room. Bump is also relieved that we have not seen Waddles for several days - not that we often go poking around the carport at night - so our opossum may have moved on.


Em said...

Did your research tell you where the legend that they hang from their tails came from?

Does Opossom have a silent O?

See, I've got lots of questions, and I'm in in the front row shouting "OO, OO, OO" like Horschach.

Heather said...

One time I went in the back yard at night, and the dog was doing something weird around the side of the house. I went over, and there on the ground was a dead opossum. "The dog killed an opossum!" I yelled to Brian. I was distraught The dog was given a serious lecture about respecting life. And then when I went back outside to bury the poor thing, it was walking out of the back yard. It had been playing possum! I am an idiot. I can't believe I fell for that.

Oh, and it Texas, I'm pretty sure it's possum.

Nicki said...

I coulda swore they hang upside down from their tails! They seriously don't? Their toes, then?

tammy said...

You may have an opossum, but we now have an opossum skull (in the house). Who's luckier? Oh yeah, it's you.