Can you think of another word that better applies to the lowly opossum?
Last night Baby Dog started barking. She was using the same voice she uses when she tattles on misbehaving cats. I yelled at her to stop, to no avail. Eventually, I had to stop what I was doing and come downstairs to investigate. Instead of a cat doing something prohibited, I discovered an opossum out on the back deck by the bird feeder.
“Great,” I thought, “a photo for tomorrow’s blog.” Then I remembered. My camera was still out in the car, and what were the odds the possum, faced with the constant barks of the dog, would still be there in the minute it would take to retrieve it? I decided to try anyway and rushed out to the car, sliding on the ice to grab the camera.
When I got inside, the possum was still there. Still in the same spot. The exact same spot.
Out I went onto the deck, camera in hand. The possum didn’t move. I quick took a photo, and then examined the possum in some detail. If possums have anything cute about them, and you do have to look to see this, it’s their cute, pink little feet. I touched the possum’s toes and took a photo.
The possum didn’t move.
Just how does something this docile, this slow, this pathetic survive amidst daring and canny predators? Here’s my theory. Even bullies want to get a response from the objects of their terrorism. When the victim doesn’t do what the bully wants, doesn’t scream or cry or run or anything, even a bully loses interest. Is it possible that wild animals feel the same way about possums? There’s simply no “fun” in harassing a possum. You get more response from a snail.
Then I saw that its tail was a bit funny-looking. The tip was damaged. Whether it was frostbitten or simply bitten, I couldn’t tell. The possum didn’t move.