Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Old Possum’s Post of Practical Greyhounds

On the evening of the 23rd of December, I heard some hoarse panting in the backyard, but it was just my dogs (ouch!). I went to investigate and found that Joey and Phoebe had fenced this little guy.

A possum fenced by the dogs

An opossum fenced by the dogs

I went back for the camera while he waited to have his picture snapped.  He kept waiting there for several hours. I know possums aren’t renowned for their quickness, but this guy was really not in any kind of hurry whatsoever.

Many people are repulsed by possums, but I find them quite interesting and even a little bit cute. It’s hard not to like North America’s only marsupial even if we usually use his nickname instead of the full Opossum that separates him from his Australian kin.

One summer while working at Camp Periwinkle, I was walking back to my cabin in the middle of the night. I had my flashlight off to better admire the stars when I bumped into one of the camp cats.

Or so I thought. (Maybe we humans shouldn’t always be so quick to judge the quickness of other species.)

I bent down to pet the cat, but I was surprised by how coarse its fur was. In an instant, I grew suspicious and flicked on my light to find myself face-to-snout with a possum. He regarded me with indifference as I jumped back and into the air. I’m forever grateful the little guy didn’t bite me as I’ve heard rabies shots are not something one willingly signs up for.

Joey and Phoebe, however, being much more practical, knew last month’s possum as an intruder and had they been able to climb the fence, they might have gotten a nice possum stew for their Christmas dinner. As things stood, though, they received their usual bowls of kibble.


  1. Mookie and Nigel also have possums and raccoons they love to track across the fences at the back of our yard. Nigel does his best to climb up the fence, actually.

    One night they even had a possum play possum–so effectively I came out to it in the yard and was convinced I’d have a clean-up job in the morning. Of course the critter was long gone by then.

  2. There seems to be a bit of a debate within the pack here at IM Central about the proper way to deal with varmints. Zeus’ philosophy is if it moves chase it, if it doesn’t pee on it, whereas Rollie and Vacume have a more live and let live approach.

  3. I’m pretty sure ours come down on the side of Zeus, Mookie and Nigel, although, I really don’t know what they’d do if they actually caught one. It would probably scare them 🙂

  4. Howdy James!

    Rabies shots are nothing to worry about these days. Got nailed really good with a feral cat bite a few years back, and got the full series of rabies shots as well as tetanus. The tetanus shot was probably an order of magnitude more painful than the rabies.

    Thanks for the link to my joint: I’ve added you to my blogroll and will be reading.

  5. Ouch. I’m glad to know they’re no worse than tetanus, which is my least favorite shot, I think. Thank you for linking to me, and likewise.

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