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Posts Tagged ‘opossum’

I took my four older opossum babies back to the rehab center this afternoon to stay. They had tripled in size since I had taken them on just two weeks ago, and were already outgrowing the larger cage I had kept them in this past week. At the center, I carefully set up a large cage made of 2x2s and chicken wire. They got such luxuries as a big wheel, a hammock for everyone to sleep in, a full-size latrine, a shelf with little t-shirt nests, and a big plate of watermelon chunks for everyone. I also left a little note on the front of their cage saying, *Take Good Care of My Babies*

They loved it.

Even though it wasn’t quite their usual time yet for getting up and starting their evening activities, they spent at least an hour climbing all over the cage, sniffing out every corner, and of course chowing down on the most fruit they have ever seen in their little lives. Whenever I peeked in on them they would be up to some hilarious antic. They were already beginning to make good use of their big wheel, which could fit three of them at a time! Only problem was, if one opossum stopped running, she’d have to hang on for dear life because the other two would charge ahead and send her head over heels right around the top of the wheel, until she met up with them at the bottom. They also seemed very interested in checking out their new neighbors, which included a couple of older opossum litters on either side.

My little dude, however, is still with us. He has gained a mere 14 grams since the day he was rescued, but he has made remarkable progress nevertheless. To think that on that first day I was afraid he might not last the night, but now he is a bright eyed little lad who also enjoyed noming on some juicy watermelon this evening, and delighted me to no end by showing me how well he can use the tiny wheel that I hung inside his little cage.

That’s the memory I focus on at the end of this rather long day. Thanks, Small Fry.

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I feel bad for calling myself lazy yesterday.

Okay, not really, but I do feel that the statement was a little harsh, and that a non-Busy Bee does not necessarily constitute a Lazy Bee.

So, for the purposes of making myself feel a little better, here’s what I have managed to accomplish in my week of super slump.

I made this nifty little table out of repurposed materials I had lying around waiting to be used. If it looks unsturdy that’s because it is—but it’s cute enough to motivate me to find a way to fix it!

I’ve also been busy raising my little beasts. For reasons that will remain unmentioned, this involves scrubbing out my tub every evening. The little angels are doubling in size each week, and are quickly turning into ravenous monsters. Okay, I think they are still adorable, but pretty soon they will be too big for Bee to handle, and must return to the rehab center. *sniff*

I even made dinner. Twice.

To my great delight, I discovered this in my garden. It’s the only sweet pepper that is amounting to anything at all. I’m just hoping it keeps growing into something worth eating! I’m also hoping it turns orange, ’cause that’d be cool, but I’m not so sure that’s going to happen for me.

I’ve gotten a pretty good amount of reading done. Today we went out to enjoy the 88 degree cold front at Broad Ripple Park. Jeff ran three miles in the time it took me to purchase a lemon shake-up, stroll around the path two times, and read two pages of my book. See, I’m not lazy at all. 🙂

I’ve also spent some time designing my new blog. Because, you know, one blog just isn’t enough for a girl like me.

Actually, I intend for this blog to focus on my creative pursuits, which in turn will motivate me to pursue more creative projects. If you’re wondering about the “shop” link above the header, my goal is to eventually link my blog to my etsy store of the same name, and see if anyone might want to help me pay off my art school loans…

We’ll see how that works out.

In the end, it hasn’t been the most dreadfully lazy week of my life, though I definitely feel as if I’m emerging out of a hazy funk today. If this is the worst I can say for an unproductive few days, then I’d say that’s not so bad at all!

The opossums think so too.

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Bebes

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As a wildlife rehabilitation volunteer, I’ve had the very unique opportunity to foster two different litters of orphaned opossums at my home over the past year. Even though I didn’t need any more reasons to love opossums, the amount of fascinating things I have learned through my experience has given me a deeper respect and appreciation for one of Earth’s most unique creatures.

Here are ten of many reasons why everyone should love a ‘possum.

1. They are All-American. It doesn’t get more American than opossums. They are the only modern marsupial native to North America. Not only that, but they’ve been around since the time of the dinosaurs. Nowadays, while Europeans can only marvel at and adore their captive opossum specimens like the famous Heidi of Germany, we can boast the privilege of seeing them nearly every evening picking through our trashca—er, in their natural habitat.

2. Feats of birthing. When opossum babies are born they are about the size of the tip of an eraser. They are basically little embryos! Even as such, the tiny creatures have to somehow make their way, unaided, up their mother’s belly and into her pouch. Try accomplishing that 13 days after you are conceived.

3. They have lots of teeth. That ain’t no rodent; opossums have more teeth than any other land mammal—50! This makes for an impressive display when an adult opossum feels endangered. In reality, the opossum is pretty defenseless, and would rather play dead than take on an attacker. I wouldn’t recommend getting bitten by one, but they aren’t as scary as they pretend to be. Those 50 teeth are great for eating, which opossums are terribly fond of. They take the term “omnivore” to the next level, feasting on anything from coffee grounds to ground snakes, and everything in between. They eat a great deal of pests such as snails, slugs, rats, and carrion. There have been studies done that suggest that declining opossum population are partly responsible for an increase in lyme disease infection among humans. Opossums are so good at grooming themselves and consuming the ticks they find, that they can actually help prevent the spread of lyme disease.

4. They get a clean bill of health. It is thought that the low body temperature of opossums is what gives them their unique ability to thwart off viruses. Opossums very rarely catch any form of contagious disease, including rabies. So of all the wild animals that you could have hanging out in your yard, opossums are likely to be the cleanest of them all by far.

5. They are agile. With the help of their prehensile tails and their four little “hands,” opossums can get around surprisingly well. They have opposable thumbs on their front and hind feet, which not even humans have.

6. They are cute as a bug! I think baby opossums look like Mickey Mouse. Even if you disagree, you can’t resist their beady little eyes, crinkly soft black ears, and tiny hands that make them look like they are wearing gloves with the fingertips cut off!

7. They are (relatively) smart. In certain types of intelligence tests, opossums score higher than dogs. Despite their tiny brains, they are more on par with a pig in the smarts department.

8. They are quiet and unobtrusive. Unless you have a chicken coop, or leave your garbage out at night, you probably won’t even notice that opossums are experts at cohabiting with humans. They are silent, slow, gentle creatures of the night who are just looking for a quick bite to eat before they move on. Unlike other “nuisance” wildlife, you probably won’t ever find an opossum nesting in your attic or setting up camp in the walls of your home. You let opossums be, and they will just be. No need to disturb them.

9. Cats are cool with them. I’ve never met a cat who had a problem with an opossum. In fact, they don’t ever seem to notice each other much at all. My cats express a mild interest in the babies that I foster, but after a few sniffs they seem to know that it’s nothing to fear or hunger for. It’s an odd sort of acquaintance, but it seems to work out well for both species.

10. Opossums are extremely adaptable. You could say that the definition of a highly evolved animal is its ability to adapt to its situation. It’s simply a matter of natural selection, and opossums are top-notch at figuring out how to cope. There are few wild animals who possess the ability to survive, even flourish, among humans in cities. Opossums are as comfortable in the alleys among high-rise apartments as they are in secluded forests and wetlands. Nobody in America is deprived of the opportunity to know the opossum in all his glory. Opossums are truly remarkable creatures.

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