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A Close Encounter With an Opossum

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Last night I took some boxes out to our recycling bin, and as I was walking along the back fence I did a double-take — I’d walked within a couple of feet of this opossum before I knew it was there. It was so close that if I hadn’t been worried about either scaring it or getting bitten, I could easily have reached out and petted it like a cat. We both froze, and I whipped out my phone and started taking pictures.

The opossum was up on top of the fence, it couldn’t exactly flop down and play dead without risk of injury, but it did hold completely still for a minute or so while I experimented with different attempts at getting a good photo. I brightened up this second one a bit in GIMP. The opossum is in exactly the same pose as in the first photo, I just hadn’t stepped forward to get a better side view.

After getting a couple of passable photos, I decided to try shooting a video. That worked okay in terms of capture, although now I see my dumb phone focused on the trees in the background instead of the awesome mammal in the foreground. When I started talking, the opossum decided it had had enough, and scampered off along the fence.

I love opossums. Skeletally they look almost identical to mammals from the Early Cretaceous. For like 100 million years, there has been something approximately opossum-like rummaging around in nature’s back yard. And now they’re in my back yard. That’s cool.


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  • Steelin

    I was coming out of the camper in my driveway after fetching some alcohol not unpacked yet. I open the door and not 5 ft away is a opossum hissing, it’s eyes glowing. Of course I slammed the door back closed to regroup. I had my cell phone so I called my daughter inside the house. She opened the front door and my Boxer ran out. I being afraid for said Boxer threw the door open again. That dog ran back and forth blocking that thing with the long, long spiky teeth. I was able to escape the camper and call off my pup. At the end of the camper stood my daughter in something of a haze. She kept saying “It’s eyes, it’s eyes” I gave her a little nudge and we all ran in the house.

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