Backyard Opossum, Oh No!

Tonight I got quite a fright when I went to check on my backyard flock of hens. There he was looking at me with his eyes flashing back like highway reflectors—a opossum! He just stood there frozen still with his mouth open. That saying, “playing possum,” is true. He didn’t even flinch when we moved suddenly in his close proximity.

Playin’ Possum is an involuntary response, like fainting. What would happen if you had both fainting goats and opossums?


I saw this devil-animal incarnate a week ago when I heard his scratchy paws on the tree bark, thinking it sounded strange for a neighborhood cat. (we have tons of alley cats around us). When I located the critter he was high in the backyard tree.

The opossum is often misspelled as “possum,” and is so common, that it’s an accepted way to spell it. Opossums are marsupials, not rodents. Like kangaroos, opossums give birth to offspring early in the gestation cycle. The baby opossum crawls into the mother’s pouch, attaches to a teat and nurses through the last stages of its gestation.

As for our backyard opossum, as soon as he had a chance, he ambled along and climbed the tree. I’m sure he’ll be back, so we’ll have to set a trap soon, because opossums and chickens are not simpatico.

Up, up, up into the tree he goes.



One thought on “Backyard Opossum, Oh No!

  1. Carmella

    When I was about 9 years I got a tweed (going to church with Mollie) coat. The collar was trimmed with gray fur. It was glamorous. I would stroke that collar like it was a cat. I did not know what kind of fur it was. I knew it was not sable, mink, fox, wolf, rabbit, raccoon or beaver. Those were standard critters, hunted down, and made into coats. In 1966, Montreal was still embedded in the Fur Trade. I remember becoming being very concerned my collar might be made of cat or dog or squirrel or dyed hamster, the suggestions, likely planted by Patrick. Also Mollie was not pet friendly. I un-stitched a bit of the collar that revealed a tag that said “genuine opossum”. What the hell? I checked the “O” volume of my Encyclopedia Britannica to discover a drawing of the ugliest of God’s beady eyed, grub sucking critters. I was mortified. Granny on the Beverly Hill Billies was always cooking “possum”. I ducked wearing that coat ever again. Then one day it disappeared.
    Since moving to Texas, I have learned that “possum” is good eating. I saw one, and suspected it was living in Katherine’s backyard. The motion sensor lights going on and off. I told her… she never back there at night by herself again. I wouldn’t have either. I have PTSD… possum trim shock disorder . So now you know, that once you trap the thing, you can make a casserole, and make ear muffs for the whole family.

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