A Possum, Playing Possum

2년 전

We heard a dog 'woof' around the back patio last night, and I went out to investigate.

I heard the dog run off into the dark as I opened the screen, but then what I found on the walkway was a surprise. It was a 'dead' possum. I hadn't noticed a dead possum on the path earlier, so it looked like the dog had just gotten him.


He's faking it.

How did this happen? There was no scuffle, no fight. Just a single "woof", and it was all over for the poor opossum.

After I got the above photo, I went past the lifeless possum to listen for the dog again, but the garden was quiet.

I'd heard that when a possum is frightened or startled they will faint, collapsing in the face of danger, and will even emit a deathly scent while they're passed out so that predators will leave them alone. This is one of the reasons that the humble possum is one of the oldest living mammals on the planet, a species that has been easily surviving since the dinosaur days.

No dogs about, I went back up the path towards the house, and was not surprised to see the little faker standing there, looking a little confused, but very much alive.


Right in the middle, with the glowing eyes

IMG_0566 (1).jpg

I backed up and went all the way around the house so he wouldn't mistake me for the dog that had relieved him of his living daylights a few minutes before.

So there it is; possums really do play possum, and this one probably laid there for 3 or 4 minutes before standing up, blinking, and eventually going back to its usual routines of checking the cat's bowls for food. Then it was off to do more marsupial stuff, those possummy things that they do.


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Haha! I didn't realise they actually passed out and released a bad scent. I thought they just pretended to be dead. Imagine that, literally sleeping the danger away!

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I always thought the same, that it was just an act. Apparently they don't have much control over the function.

A death playing fiend of the night!


Except for the 'still breathing' part, he did look pretty dead.

that's funny. That actually is a really smart defensive mechanism. I bet the dog felt quite powerful after that as well. "I killed him with a single bark! No one better mess with me. They wouldn't stand a chance." Lol
I didn't know that the possums released a deathly scent as well. That's interesting.

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The dog will be sad when he discovers that his mighty 'woof' only works on possums.

Interesting story. For awhile there I thought you may have a possum fur to trade. LOL Thanks @therealpaul


Or inviting the neighborhood over for some 'possum stew'.

  ·  2년 전

Awesome story! The little critters are wonderful.

Love your 'relief of his living daylights'. They are pretty classic little animals. I've always enjoyed them. Particularly if you get to see them up close. The chubby little pink fingers really crack me up. Used to have one mess around outside the sliding glass door, so got to watch close-in for a long time, without bothering him/her.
Amazing a 'play dead' routine has worked for SO long. Then again, if you smell bad, someone probably WOULDN'T bother to eat you, even if you WERE playing as still as a nice dinner meal.


Hey! I missed this reply earlier. I do like possums, but they kind of scare me-- the way they don't skitter away like most wild animals when they see me. They come fearlessly waddling onto the patio and then ignore the human (me) who's standing there.
Possums kinda look like they ALWAYS smell bad!

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