Garden Visitor of the Day: Opossum

Last night’s garden visitor was about as welcome as can be. After a year of running what I dubbed the “Possum Cam”, a possum has finally shown up in the yard. I’m certain he (she?) has been here before, but this is the first time I’ve caught him (her?) on the cam.

What a cutie! Possums are one of my favorite wildlife visitors. Growing up, we had a backyard possum who visited almost nightly for a period of time and was obsessed with the case of beer bottles my dad stored on the back patio in the fall and early winter to keep it cool. Try as he might, the possum could never open the hinged cardboard lid but that didn’t stop him from trying!

This next clip is of our little visitor having a bit of a snack on our deck. Whether he is eating one of the fallen grapes or an insect who was wandering among them, I am not sure. Possums are omnivorous. You may have heard that they love ticks, an especially annoying and dangerous pest in our area, and can eat as many as 5,000 ticks in a single season. This number has been questioned by a study that was done in laboratory conditions and found that opossums did not actually eat many, if any, ticks. Hopefully the truth is closer to conventional wisdom, because anyone who gets rid of ticks, even if it isn’t 5.000 a season, is a friend of mine.

One final video, so you can see our little opossum friend’s footsies. These unique creatures are the only marsupials in North America, have more teeth than any other mammal in North America, is our only native animal with a prehensile tail, and our only native animal with opposible thumbs (on its hind feet). You can see the unique feet and tail in this video.

Delightful, aren’t they?