Possums really do play dead

December 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Last night one of our dogs cornered a possum in the back yard.  We have a lot of possums around here…most of which eat at least one or two meals a week out of their own possum feeding dish on the air conditioner unit next to the mudroom door.  The dogs, cats, and possums have pretty much ignored each other for months.  But last night, our labradoodle discovered a possum outside of its normal location (meaning, the possum was strolling around the back yard, and not sitting on top of the possum feeding station).  This event was just too exciting for the dog, who chased the poor possum until it collapsed in fright in the middle of the yard.  By the time we came to the possum’s aid, the dog was sitting there looking perplexed, and the possum was playing dead.

I thought the poor guy really was dead at first.  But Dave took a closer look at him, and saw very faint breathing.  Then later, I took a stick and pulled one of his little possum arms away from his body, and he immediately pulled it back to his chest.  By the way, don’t try anything like that in your own yard…poking sticks at possums is not very smart; I only did it because the possums in our yard are semi-tame.

He played dead for about half an hour, and then eventually lumbered up and ran away.  He was later seen at the possum feeding station, eating some navy bean soup.

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