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Some Belated Praise for Opossums

Updated on April 3, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

Writer's note: This article is lovingly dedicated to a dear friend of mine: Sheila Bergquist, a treasured HubPages follower whom I am proud to call "dear friend" now going on seven years. Thank you, Sheila for your love of animals being the inspiration for this piece. Kenneth.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello  to the cute possum.
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the cute possum. | Source

You Need to Know That...

Opossums, also known as possums, are marsupial mammals of the order Didelphimorphia. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 103 or more species in 19 genera. Opossums originated in South America, and entered North America in the Great American Interchange following the connection of the two continents. Their unspecialized biology, flexible diet, and reproductive habits make them successful colonizers and survivors in diverse locations and conditions.

I had to include the scientific view of possums in order to please the scientifically-minded members of HubPages. You might say that I am an all-around, diplomatic hubber to the bone and proud of it. Hey, I will even go on record right now in stating that I do not know of anyone who loves possums more than myself.

All for the exception of my long-time friend and hubber, Sheila Bergquist aka/Catgypsy to those who reside in Hubville. Bergquist as you well know, is an expert on cats and from the first time I met her, my love for cats (and animals in general) has grown deeper. But when she talked to me about an opossum moving in with her cats to live, I was amazed. Only someone of Bergquist's passion for animals and their well being could have an opossum named "Possie" for a pet.

Do not let a possum's cute face  fool you. If they are provoked  they will bite you.
Do not let a possum's cute face fool you. If they are provoked they will bite you. | Source

Many Sane-Minded Americans are Guilty

of finding opossums repulsive, disgusting, and down-right outcasts of the animal kingdom. Why, I do not know. But this I do know: possums, as I call them, are as cute as any fawn born to a lovely doe in the forest. I said it and stand by it. I love opossums and I hope that by publishing this hub, those same people I said were treating opossums with such disresepct, will have a change of heart.

I am serious. Why do we love one animal and despise another? If you want a dose of harsh truth, I would call this a bit of animal bigotry. What else would you call it? Pretty much the way that we treat those souls of another color or national origin. But the rub is, we will attend anti-bigotry rallies, raise monies to fight racial bigotry, but when it comes to animal bigotry, we turn a deaf ear and close a blinded eye.

This is not right by any standard. Opossums have as much right to live a fulfilled life as any of us who walk around on two legs and call ourselves the Top of The Food Chain. Yeah. That makes us proud enough to justify our dislike for the lowly opossum.

Possum foraging for food.
Possum foraging for food. | Source

Great Names for Opossums

  • Rory
  • Rowdy
  • Randy
  • Paul or Paulette depending on the gender
  • Perry
  • Prince
  • Duke
  • Dawson
  • Pecos Possum (if you live in or near Sante Fe, New Mexico).

A few Facts About Opossums

  • Opossums when treated with respect will go about their business and not be of any harm to you or your property.
  • Opossums cannot help the way that God created them no more than we can help the way that we look, so this should put a damper on our cold hearted feelings about opossums.
  • Paul Henning, the gifted producer of The Beverly Hillbillies, helped Irene "Granny" Clampett to make the humble opossum famous in its own right. Bravo, Paul Henning!
  • Opossums can and will defend themselves if we foolish humans provoke them and their bites, I am told, can be quite painful.
  • Opossums are far from ignorant. An opossum being chased by hunting dogs will many times drop to the ground and play dead confusing the dogs and when the dogs have grown weary of barking at the "dead" possum, they will give up the chase and leave the intelligent opossum be.
  • Opossums can be raised with the same love and care that is given to the common housecat or dog. In short, opossums do have feelings.
  • I am reluctant about sharing this fact with you. In our country's pioneer days, many people would hunt the opossum and have him for their dinner and not in the context of "dinner guest."

Opossums by nature are shy creatures.
Opossums by nature are shy creatures. | Source

FAQs About Opossums

Q: Is it true that opossums love to eat persimmons?

A: True. But only after the first frost of the season hits the persimmons turning them from a bitter fruit to a super-sweet delicacy.

Q: Is it recommended to put a leash on your pet possum to take him for a walk?

A: Don't be ridiculous. Opossums are not easily trained into being lap possums, so trying to attach a leash to their necks would only be asking for problems for you, not the opossum.

Q: Is it a problem to give your opossum a weekly bath?

A: I would not recommend bathing your opossum on a weekly basis unless you have known the opossum for at least five years. Opossums have a sharp sense of morality.

Summary

The opossum like a cute bunny rabbit deserves to lead a happy live pursuing what opossums pursue mostly at night. I for one am proud to stand up and advertise my support for the rights of opossums everywhere.

So the next time you cross paths with an opossum, smile and say, "Hello, Mr. Opossum, I hope that you have a safe and happy day."

Couldn't hurt.

Good night, Columbia, S.C.

Opossums are hard  to beat when it comes to being cute.
Opossums are hard to beat when it comes to being cute. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Sakina :)

      So glad to hear from you about possums. They are quite cute, but they need respected and given to their space of if we provoke them, they bite very hard.

      I too need to learn more about these wily creatures.

      Thanks for the sweet comment.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 7 months ago from Kuwait

      This hub is amazingly written Kenneth, my dear friend. I never knew about opposums and this is the first time I'm seeing one. Thanks for sharing this beautiful hub with us. I got to learn so many things from this. :)

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, MizBejabbers,

      I am very thought that you sent me such a cute comment about opossums.

      Oh, the growl and hiss if you provoke the opossums, they will attack with those sharp teeth.

      But sometimes they will lay still and act dead when several dogs get to barking.

      Opossums are quite intelligent.

      Thanks for your comment.

      And please keep me close to you.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Kylyssa Shay,

      Opossums are very nice, cute and independent.

      I know that they need a lot of space to forage to food to

      eat as all critters.

      But keep a humble thought when it comes to possums.

      Keep me to close when you writing.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, craftybegonia,

      I love your comments.

      I really do. I never thought so many opossums loved so many critters.

      I feel great when I know that so many opossums are quite the cute little marsupial.

      Please keep me in close when you write.

    • craftybegonia profile image

      craftybegonia 7 months ago from Southwestern, United States

      I am in the personal "know" of any possum, I have only "met" them in photos, but they look like cute little critters that would make interesting pets, but my fear are those teeth of them, the thought of being bitten...gives me cautious pause, but they are cute nonetheless. I will stick with cats and dogs for now. Thank you for sharing and making the rest of us more informed about them.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 7 months ago

      Well done, I love possums, too, although my dad did not recommend having one as a pet. He had a pet possum, Sammy, and said that it was unpredictable and would bite. I don't know how many times daddy would awaken me in the morning with "are you asleep or are you playin' possum?" Around our house we did not eat possum, coon or groundhog.

      Living on the edge of the woods, we used to leave food out for the squirrels, and we had our favorite young possum that would come eat his share. On a cold New Year's night with neighborhood fireworks popping and booming, our outdoor sensor light came on. We looked out and it was our little friend who had brought his new mate with him to sanctuary. They huddled on the deck for a couple of hours until the fireworks subsided, and then he led her away. He still came back a few times , but she never came again. Finally he stopped coming, I guess with newly found duties of raising a family.

      I find it unusual that cats and possums get along. My friends cat got into a fight with a possum on their screened in porch and had to be rescued by us. I believe the possum would have killed him. Here the cats and coons run together, but I'm not familiar with possums and cats as friends.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 7 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I had a lovely lap possum named Xhi (pronounced "Chee") that I found as a wee tiny baby in her dead mother's pouch on the roadside. I thought possums were dirty and nasty until she changed my beliefs with ridiculously cuddly snuggles with me and my beloved black cat. She didn't glare at me for days afterward if I did have to give her a bath like he did, either.

      Oh, she was naughty, but not nearly as naughty as my cats or dogs and all her naughtiness involved food someone had done something silly with. She was also so incredibly clean and fluffy, aside from some incidents involving things like a blender full of virgin strawberry daiquiri left unattended at a party and a jar of honey my roommate left the lid off one breakfast.

      Animals behave according to their nature. Humans can choose to do better.