View Full Version : Another mouth to feed!!

11-16-2003, 11:29 AM
I've been feeding this guy for about a year now, but he leaves if I go out onto the porch so I hadnt been able to get pics before. When the cats are out he just lays on the porch with them in the summer! I have seen joggers go by our house and give double and triple takes at this scene!!! It is so funny! The cats think he belongs and they are all buddies. Oh well...whats one more mouth to feed!!http://petoftheday.com/talk/images/our_smilies/biggrin.gif

Meet Mr. Opposum!!

Isn't he cute??? http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid89/p2cef080cde2d9eece5c9e0fa95a26c66/fa8c2753.jpg

I would bring him in too but my husband nearly fainted at this suggestion!http://petoftheday.com/talk/images/our_smilies/rolleyes.gif

11-16-2003, 11:38 AM
He is very cute.

How big is he ?
What does he eat ?
Is he a wild animal ?

11-16-2003, 11:48 AM
Yes, PayItForward he is a wild animal. I never thought about it before but are opposums strictly North American? I'll have to do some research on that!
He is the size of a medium cat and weighs some where around 10 pounds I would guess. They are scavengers and will eat most anything! Cat food seems to be one of his favorites!http://petoftheday.com/talk/images/our_smilies/biggrin.gif
They are similar to a very large rat with no hair on there tails and they carry their young on their backs when they leave the pouch. If they get scared they roll over and play dead. They are not well liked by many people, but I have never had any problem with this guy. He just fits right in!!

11-16-2003, 11:49 AM
I try to discourage Opossums from coming in my yard because my little dog chases them when she goes out to use the bathroom. I'm afraid they won't always "play dead" and may bite her. One used to come to my in-laws house and chase their cat off the porch to eat her food. That thing made the creepiest noise.

PayItForward - I take it you don't have these where you live? They are wild and in abundance around here. They are North America's only marsupial and carry their babies in a pouch. Typically about the size of a cat. Unfortunately they are often victims of cars and probably our state's number one road kill. Most people say their name by dropping off that first O.

11-16-2003, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by jazzcat
PayItForward - I take it you don't have these where you live? They are wild and in abundance around here. They are North America's only marsupial and carry their babies in a pouch. Typically about the size of a cat. Unfortunately they are often victims of cars and probably our state's number one road kill. Most people say their name by dropping off that first O.
Nope, I am in England and we don't have Opossums here !!

They do look very cute.

11-16-2003, 12:29 PM
They are cute, but I would be afraid of them bringing in diseases like Rabies and God only knows what - they are wild animals. He does look cute sitting there eating his cat food. Thanks for the pics. Do you have one with him and the cats?

11-16-2003, 12:54 PM
I did some research and I think these guys are kind of misunderstood. I learned some things myself. They are so common that I really never gave them a second thought until people started asking questions. Here is some info from a website about Opossums.

Over 70 million years ago dinosaurs roamed the Earth. While they are now extinct, one animal who shared the same land with the dinosaurs still exists today... the opossum..

Despite its appearance, the opossum is not related to the rat. In fact, the opossum is a marsupial, or "pouched" mammal, and is therefore related to other marsupials such as the kangaroo and the koala. Like kangaroos and koalas, infant opossums stay inside the mother's pouch to nurse and develop. The opossum holds the distinction of being North Americas's only marsupial.

Opossums are born after an 11-13 day gestation period. The pink, embryonic-looking infants are so small at birth that 20 could fit into a teaspoon. The infants continue to develop inside the pouch. As they grow and the pouch becomes full, the juveniles then ride on the mother's back until they are old enough to go out on their own.

The opossum has an average lifespan of 1 to 2 years. This short lifespan is due in part to the presence of many predators including dogs, cats and people. Sometimes the opossum is able to escape death by "playing 'possum" or feigning death, and in so doing the predator may lose interest in the apparently dead animal and not eat it
The name "opossum" is derived from an Algonquian Indian word "apasum", meaning white animal. While there are over 65 species of opossums, only one, the Didelphis virginiana, more commonly known as the Virginia opossum, is native to North America. Didelphis means double womb and refers to the pouch as a secondary place of development for the infant opossums. Virginiana refers to the state of Virginia where the opossum was first observed by early English colonists. However, opossums today can be found throughout most of the United States and portions of Canada and Mexico.

The opossum has many interesting features. It has 50 teeth, more than any North American land mammal. Its hairless tail is prehensile and is used for grasping branches, balancing and carrying nesting material. The opossum does not hang upside down by the tail, a common misconception. The opossum also has opposable thumbs on its hind feet for holding onto branches.

Whether rural, residential or in the wilderness, opossums are a benefit to any area they inhabit. Their diet includes all types of bugs and insects including cockroaches, crickets and beetles. They love snails. They also eat mice and rats. The nocturnal opossum is attracted to our neighborhoods by the availability of water, pet food left out at night and overripe, rotting fruit that has fallen from trees. The opossum in turn helps keep our neighborhoods clean and free of unwanted, harmful garden pests and rodents, which may carry diseases. The opossum has earned the title of "Nature's Little Sanitation Engineer."

Question: Do opossums carry rabies?

Answer: Any mammal can get rabies. However, the chance of rabies in an opossum is EXTREMELY RARE. This may have something to do with the opossumís low body temperature (94-97ļ F) making it difficult for the virus to survive in an opossumís body.

Question: I see an opossum sharing a food dish with my cat. Is this normal?

Answer: Opossums are very opportunistic animals. If food is available, they will eat. We receive numerous pictures of opossums sharing a bowl of cat food with an outdoor cat. Adult cats and opossums seem to tolerate each other.

Pretty interesting stuff! I never knew this much about them. Thanks for asking questions PayItForward! I learned alot today about opossoms. I was spelling it wrong to!!

Miss Meow
11-16-2003, 04:25 PM
Wow, what a cool looking houseguest! I love that snouty little face :D

11-16-2003, 07:00 PM
I think that is so cool.:) He sure is a cute guy.

I didn't know that cats and opossums got along. I would have thought it would be the oppisite, but hey what do I know.;)

If you get a chance to get pictures of the little guy with the cats, I would love to see them.

11-16-2003, 07:13 PM
OMG CCL, that is so cool. What a cutie pie. We don't have opossum's here in Montreal, have only seen skunks, (eww) and raccoons, who venture now and then onto our streets when it is garbage day.

11-16-2003, 07:30 PM
I have to sneak around to get pics of him but I will try to get some of him and the cats. May not be until summer though because the cats don't lay around on the porch as much since it is cold. I don't let them out unless they force me! I'll see if the opossum comes around tonight and I will try to get better pictures of him.