Brambles meets a possum

Posted on February 23, 2010

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This has been a wonderful week for Thomasina Sawyer. Gifts of wonder poured in from Katherine, Babs and Bruce the Weatherman. I haven’t had to do any fence-painting myself in days. In this delivery, Bruce wrote: Brambles doesn’t know what to think of this ugly visitor. Aren’t they supposed to hibernate?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I think that possum is kind of cute. Sort of. Especially as it’s on the other side of the glass. And its tail doesn’t show in the photo.

To answer Bruce’s question about hibernation, I consulted my beloved Stan Tekiela. In Mammals of Michigan he writes that the opossum doesn’t hibernate, but “sleeps in dens for weeks during the coldest part of the winter.” He also writes that January and February are mating season, so it begins to sound like possum naps are like the naps Mommy and Daddy take.

Tekiela is full of information on possums. They have 50 teeth, “more than any other mammal in Michigan.” They are tough, surviving attacks from much larger predators, including cars. “Many opossums are immune to venomous snake bites and have a resistance to rabies and plague.” So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Possums, don’t mess with ’em. They mean it.

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