A possum must be himself, and being himself he is honest.
June 6, 2017 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Yes, possums are cute [teeny munching and LOUD ending], and generally not agressive [quiet talking]. They love food [jazzy piano]. Did I mention how cute [gentle music] they are? Here, watch some more [inoffensive music]. Wait, here's the cutest of all [voiceover and music]! And no possum post would be complete without dogs playing with a possum [ambient sounds] or adopting possum babies [voiceover and music].

Fifteen Amazing Facts About Opossums [voiceover and music]
True Facts About Marsupials [voiceover and music, no possums]

Possums previously, previouslier, previousliest.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
h/t phunniemee for seeding the pseudo-random post generator.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:37 AM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I grew up in the rural South and these actually cute possums are causing me some serious cognitive dissonance.
posted by Bob Regular at 9:46 AM on June 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ooh they have little flat pink feet...
posted by Cocodrillo at 10:13 AM on June 6, 2017

Still my favorite one.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:17 AM on June 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Possums are fascinating. I had one living on my back porch all winter one year and never knew it until somebody asked me about the "weird cat" sleeping under the chair cover. But everybody I know who keeps chickens has had horrific experiences with possums.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:44 AM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry, but as someone who still lives in the South, I will NEVER EVER be convinced that possums are cute.
Maybe if they stayed small and fuzzy, like a baby, then fine.
But when you see a fat, waddling, balding one cross the darkened street and hiss at you before hiding underneath the nearest dumpster, then NO. They are like a nasty, hairless football that could give you a wicked, wicked bite.

OH MY GOD, I just watched the Opossum versus Dog video and that certainly freaked me the heck out. That THING was not playing with your dog, stupid human!
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 10:56 AM on June 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Possums are the best: tick-eating, non-rabies-getting, screaming at own ass-ing little buddies of the woods. Them and trash pandas (aka raccoons) make me miss life near the hills.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:19 AM on June 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

I used to go to the computer labs at uni in the dead of night when it was nice and quiet and I could get some work done. I'd just gone outside to have a smoke while the computer did stuff. It's so peaceful at about 3am, no people, no traffic. You'd never guess you're in the middle of the city.

I was having a little mindful moment when suddenly the garbage can beside me became possessed by Satan. It was a squeeing avalanche of pots and pans. I jumped right out of my skin! It was just a real shock. It was a possum trapped in there of course, one of the brush-tails that infest the campus. There wasn't much I could do, there's no way I was going to reach in there and try to yank it out. Brush-tails use their claws to cling to tree limbs, not mine!

The groundskeepers would get it in the morning, and I guess it wouldn't be the first time because those critters are everywhere. Here in Brisbane we have two species of inner city possums, brush-tails and ring-tails. They fill the ecological niche of city rats (I have seen one with a slice of pizza). You can't pet them, if you go near them they just run up the nearest tree.
posted by adept256 at 11:21 AM on June 6, 2017

Yeah, Major Matt Mason Dixon, the oppossum vs dog video does not seem like happy playtime to me.

I think reasonable people may differ over whether opossums are butt-ugly or adorable.

Haters gonna hate.

I think opossums are fascinating because there's something similar-but-so-different about them compared to rodents. They look like they're *supposed* to be rodents, but they're definitely *not*. Kind of like how Tasmanian Tigers look like they're *supposed* to be canines, but they're definitely *not* (especially when they open their gigantic gaping maws).

To me the rodent-but-not-rodent aspect, knowing they're from a lineage of mammals that separated from us placentals maybe 100 million years ago, reminds me that once all of us mammals were little ratty things, that that's the ur-mammal, and that the rest of us, from apes to whales to camels to pangolins, are all tweaked versions of those little ratty things. And that the ur-rat-form persists in different branches of the tree.
posted by edheil at 11:26 AM on June 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm southern as can be, and have always had kind of a soft spot for them, so it's no surprise that I ended up having one as a guest at my wife's 40th birthday. Or, rather, I took a picture of one who apparently lived in our tree, and viewed US as the interlopers in my backyard that night.

My other possum story is sort of goofy, but tells you a LOT about what an exceptional dog an ex-girlfriend of mine had. He was a husky and a foundling she'd adopted/rescued as an adult; we never knew anything about his formative years, but we'd get windows into what must have gone before from his behavior. He was very gentle with children, for example, which isn't a given; we suspect his former life had kids in it.

He also absolutely LOVED cats. Not to chase or play with; he wanted to snuggle them. Cats are not usually given to trusting enormous huskies, so this never went over well with my cat at all, which led to poor old Logan whining and crying because my cat wouldn't love him.

Anyway, the story is this: my ex lived in an apartment with a little courtyard, and coming back in from a walk one night Logan got VERY interested in a bush in the middle of the yard. He'd sniff it, dance a little, come get us, go back, etc. "What'd you find, boy?"

Hidden in the bush was a baby possum, mouth wide open in a threat display I guess. I assume he or she just fell off his or her mama en route through (or over) the courtyard, but it wasn't a place we could leave him given the feral cats that frequented the area. Logan, for his part, just wanted to love the little fella (some predator!). We brought him inside, gave him some milk (not knowing what else to do), and left a voice mail for a friend in animal rescue. We had plans, but before we left we sequestered him in the bathroom with a little shoebox-and-towel bed, for comfort (which, to be clear, was palatial compared to the little guy).

When we came back home, our baby possum was no longer in the box. Turns out, he'd found a way to climb into the linen shelves and made himself a little nest on the washcloths. Somewhere, I have a snapshot, and it is precisely as cute as you imagine.

We handed him off to the rescue folks the next day, as we're not well versed in possum husbandry. In my headcanon he had a full life ahead of him as a professional possum, and I will hear no contradictions.
posted by uberchet at 12:21 PM on June 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Re: "not aggressive" video - I guess we don't call the big one "Bitey."
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:40 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best. I love them. The dogs eat outside and usually leave a little bit of kibble around, and on a good night I'll go to the kitchen for something and find one or two out there cleaning up. The have the best cronch-cronch faces.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:51 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I type this comment bathed in the distinctive aroma of DEATH emanating from a possum carcass less than 6 feet and 1/2 inches (that last bit being the thickness of the sheetrock) away. Between the walls. In my bedroom closet. Near all my clothes. Where I sleep.

Tomorrow both the wall and my chequebook open.

Odio possa.
posted by TigerMoth at 3:44 PM on June 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

When I was young, I caught a possum in a persimmon grove by my house in the Midwest, in one of those humane trap-your-neighbor's-cat-alive traps (Havahart). I let it go, but not without taking a good look at it. If there were an antonym for cute, it would apply to this thing, a bundle of ugly prehistoric rage. They are like raccoons, but uglier, stupider, and meaner. (This does not apply to all the cute little possums in the cute little opossum videos in this FPP.)
posted by kozad at 3:51 PM on June 6, 2017

For the record Aussie Possums and American Opossums are not the same thing - each is evil in it's own right
posted by mbo at 4:10 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's the thing about salted down possum, it's just as good the second day. - jed clampett
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:37 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

On my porch, there's frequently a conclave of cats. My cats, neighbor cats, strays. Every now and then, the parliament extends membership to one possum. Who will just on the porch with them, watching the night go by.

The possum has been good for my aussie's ego. She'll sometimes catch the possum out in the middle of the field. He's used to her now, so he doesn't even bother much with the hissing any more. Just plops down "dead". She gets a big grin on her face and plops down next to him. I congratulate my dog on being such a bloodthirsty and merciless killer. And then we go inside so the possum can get on with his business.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:45 PM on June 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

We found an orphaned opossum last year. She tried to scare us by showing her teeth in exactly the same way that the adult does in the second video... except that she didn't have any teeth yet, so rather than being scary it was just cute.

We took her to a wildlife rescue when they opened in the morning.
posted by reventlov at 11:35 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

One came in through the cat door and was calmly eating cat food when I came in the kitchen one morning. The cats were just hanging out, not bothered by the new addition. Picked the possum up by the tail and put him in the backyard. Recently I went to feed the outdoor kitties and picked up the plastic cat food container which seemed strangely heavy. Sure enough a possum had crawled in and was camped out snacking away. They crack me up.
posted by PJMoore at 12:01 PM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

So, just an update from above. Turns out it was momma apparently going down the wall void to rescue two babies who fell. The backside of the drywall is apparently slick and there's no way back up. As I've been told, they really are amazing moms.

Nonetheless, when dead, they--like all of us--smell like Satan's ass. Or worse.

All things considered (and chequebook in hand), still... odio possa. Pun intended. Carry on.
posted by TigerMoth at 3:51 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding the US possum being a distinct critter to the Aus ones.

I found a desiccated baby possum under a crack house in CA once. It ended up varnished and hanging from the rearview mirror until the car got impounded.

There was one that would come up my fourth floor fire escape in Oakland for years just to take a shit; we guessed the previous tenant fed their cat up there, but it could have just been temperamental.

I find them simultaneously cute and horrific.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:28 PM on June 8, 2017

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