Monday, February 4, 2008

The neighbor we didn't know we had...

Several nights ago, I was sitting at the table near our sliding glass back door after the kids were in bed when I noticed a movement in the part in the curtains. It didn't startle me. I was sure it was one of the many neighborhood cats that roam our backyard all day long. But as I watched, its tail looked like a huge rat tail! I quickly looked out and still couldn't quite determine what animal it was. It just looked like a giant cat-size rodent. A smaller scale of the R.O.U.S. from "The Princess Bride!" I called Darren over and he said it was a huge possum. He opened the door to get a better look and the possum just looked at us and slowly moseyed his way over to go back under our deck. We didn't get a picture of our possum, but the picture above is the best one I could find of what he looked like. I've been doing some research on possums, and everything I could find says they're harmless, non-confrontational, clean creatures who actually kill lots of unwanted pests: rats, mice and spiders topped my list. So I've decided I kind of like him and want him to stay. Especially since he seems to have run off the raccoons that we used to see going under our deck when we first moved in.
Here are some fun facts about possums that I learned:
-They are not rodents. They are the only indigenous marsupial of the United States.
-They have opposable thumbs that help them climb trees. Although, I can't imagine our fat possum climbing any of our trees.
-They are nocturnal.
-They do not really spend a lot of time hanging from trees like many a children's book I remember. Although, they can do this with their yucky ratlike tail that grips tree branches.
-If provoked, they will play dead with their mouth hanging open and everything. It's their best defense. :)
-They are actually quite cute when they're little, but the our fatty possum is not cute whatsoever. If I ever get a picture of him, I'll post it for you. Hope you enjoyed my little lesson on possums!

16 comments:

Jon & Michelle said...

Thanks for the lesson! That's really gross, but I'm glad that hopefully he'll help keep other gross things away from your house. And hopefully your kids don't see it and want to try to catch it and keep it for a pet!

Misha said...

I actually think possums are kind of cute (Except for the rat tail of course!). In England, we heard a rattling outside our window and found a hedgehog rummaging through our garbage. We actually brought him and his little friend into the house! Probably not the greatest of ideas, and they definitely are not as cute as possums! I don't think I'll be a very good about keeping all the animals away that Caleb finds! Thanks for the fun facts! --Oh--I need to send you the pictures from the Children's Museum of you, Jospeh & Justin, they are darling!

Alicia said...

Sounds like you have a new member of your family. I'm sure your boys will love him:) These blogs really are great for keeping in touch. I'm glad you bloggers have inspired me.

Jennie Minor said...

I do NOT think that possums are cute at all! I actually think that I would freak out and put my house up for sale. haha. but seriously I hope I never see them around my house! Like a rat! They can stay out!

Brenley, Bryce & McCoy said...

YUCK, GROSS, DISGUSTING!

Emily said...

Ok, that was so funny. I'm really glad you included what you learned about them. LOL!

I'm sorry Jill, but I just don't think he's cute. That tail?!?!
But it does sound nice to have him around to get rid of all the other creatures for you.

Emily said...

I always thought it was Opossum...

Jill said...

Emily, you are so smart. The US species is actually called opossum. No one really knows why. But I like possum better.

Katie said...

Hello! My name is Uniguo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!
I LOVE that movie!

Emily said...

Oh, possum is way better, and makes tons more sense. Who ever thought to put a silent O in front of it.

"Now there's a silent M? I hate this language!" Which episode?

*Stephanie Mitchell* said...

GROSS jill!!! i think i would have been TOTALLY greaked out!!!! EW that is just gross! i hate those things!!!!

Jill said...

Misha: Eww! Hedghogs in your house? You're crazy!

Katie: Who doesn't love The Princess Bride? One of my all-time favorites.

Em: Stephanie's spelling bee! I love it. "mnemonic device" Did I even spell it right?

Ben & Diane said...

Having grown up in the south .....I'm an expert. Even though there is an O at the beginning of the word......no one pronounces it. Just thought you might like to know(my nose is way up in the air right now if you can't tell) It is so awesome to see one play dead.

Ben & Diane said...

oh....oops! I didn't see the part in Emily's comment that explained the silent O. hu hu.....hu hu......sorry. My nose is no longer in the air.

Emily said...

Ding Ding Ding...you rock!

Rick said...

And they stink!