My Sunday Photo: Playing Possum

This Opossum in the palm tree in the garden of the house we’re renovating, was disturbed by the garden service we employed to clear out the undergrowth. He scuttled up into the tree and didn’t move the whole day. I wonder if he has any family members living nearby. I was reading that these creatures are quite harmless and can be beneficial for the garden, as they eat snails, slugs, insects and even small rodents. They aren’t aggressive, even though their defense hissing makes them appear quite vicious. When they’re really threatened, they pretend to be dead, which is where the saying, “Playing possum” comes from.

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103 comments on “My Sunday Photo: Playing Possum

  1. oh my goodness, amiga! what a queue of comments this little ole possum prompted! possums are so funny, and they’re so ;’ugly’ they are cute.. well, they probably think that we’re ugly…

    once i heard leaves rattling between the (primitive) walls of my studio in costa rica. there was a hollow space between the outside canya and the inner canya. finally i got on a ladder, removed several pieces of canya until i could see into the space.. one big gray mouth opened revealing a pink tongue… i all but stepped off the ladder in retreat!

    researching the wildlife books, i found it was a water possum! i carefully replaced the canya and let it be!

  2. I adore these fine wee creatures! Very friendly and sweet, and yes, grand for gardens. I have actually had the delight of being allowed peacefully in their company without fear. I’ve waddled around with them many-a-fine-evening! One night a police officer stopped me, as it was after 10 pm, and asked what on earth I was doing. The creature dispersed at the sight of headlights, of course. I tried to explain I was just waddling around with a friendly opossum but the officer seemed doubtful. I was sadly marched home. Another fun creature to dance and probe for grubs with- sweet little armadillos!

    This photo is just too cute. So happy he found a place he felt safe, and a delightfully photogenic place, as well!! Too superb! Jubilant cheers to you!

    smiling toad

      • A mouse and a coon got tangled up in the tangoing affair, as well, but I decided not to mention this to the officer πŸ˜‰ I felt like I was dancing inside a children’s book! Florida amazes me…absolutely brimming with wildlife. So happy the little tale evoked a smile. Cheerio.

        toad

  3. You got some great comments on this picture, Sylvia. He looks a bit too big for the tree. I have to agree with the lady who said how brave you were to stand there and take his picture from underneath. πŸ™‚

  4. yeah, they pretend to be dead, like bears!!! a possum in a palm tree: you have to see it, to believe it… awesome-possum, of course… πŸ˜‰ during the 5 years spent in Houston, TX, we had a possum family around: they loved our cat’s dry food, but they had to share it with a squirrel family! πŸ™‚

  5. He looks really scared. I had no idea they could climb! We have at least one living in our garden too and I sometimes see him/her scuttling from one bush to another, mostly just before night fall. Great capture, Sylvia!

  6. He’s probably doing what a cat I once owned liked to do. He would habitually accidentally-on-purpose get stuck in the silver birch tree in my front garden and then revel in the sympathy of passers by. There he’s stay for hours, sometimes gathering quite an audience. But once everybody went indoors and ignored him, he’s get bored and climb down the tree without the slightest difficulty.

  7. Sweet! Hope he’s back “home” now.

    When I wrote a post on possums, I learned that “playing possum” is an involuntary physiological response (like fainting), rather than a conscious act. Their stiff, curled form can be prodded, turned over, and even carried away without reaction. They regain consciousness after a period of between 40 minutes and 4 hours, beginning with twitchings of the ears.

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