Friday, September 13, 2013

The Opossum And Playing Possum.

The Opossum And Playing Possum.

The Opossum

Growing up in Kaurman, Texas - a suburb of the large Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex, about 40 miles removed, I've watched and seen the town, and this whole county evolve and grow. One of the things that I'm most grateful for is that we've still lots of those Texas wide open spaces around here. It's really more crowded than I like it to be now.
Lots of the people that I grew up with are still here, and others have gone to far away places to live. With the advent of Myspace, and now Facebook though, we can all keep in touch. Often, some childhood friend or neighbor will say something like,
"I'll always remember Bear, that German Shepherd ya'll had."
Well, we had a German Shepherd mix named "Bear," and he lived for a pretty long time, so far as I recall. I'm worried that everyone else remembers our late dog better than I do.
We'd bought for Bear one of those nice, large, pre fab dog houses that you always see - and never, EVER did the dog named Bear set paw in it. . .until the Opossum decided that it was not a dog house, but an Opossum house.

The North American Opossum

The Continuing Story Of An Opossum Squater, and a Dog named Bear.

So as it happened one day Bear, the German Shepherd mix dog, was barking continuously, which is rather annoying. Dad went to see what the problem was, or if there actually was one. We Texans living in rural areas keep dogs and name them after even more intimidating animals. . . .so those dogs will get the idea, and be intimidating. The Dad returned to the indoor, and safe area of the property, and reported that there was an Opossum who'd decided that because the dog named Bear didn't use his dog house, that he'd have it for an Opossum house.
So naturally, the dog now wanted what he'd not wanted ever before. Truly, you don't know what you've got until it's gone.
The Dad and the rest of us were so unimpressed with the pitiful display and carrying on that the dog named Bear was providing that we decided that no action was needed on our parts, we'd just "grin and Bear it," if you will. Of course the problem did not just go away, and of course me and the younger brother wanted to see the ferocious Opossum squatter that was effectively making a German Shepherd mix dog named after a much larger beast look like the "punk."
I have to admit to you that the Opossum in the dog house belonging to the dog named Bear was a rather ferocious looking beast. It was night time, and I took a flashlight with me. The eyes of the Opossum glowed like those of Apolyon, "the destroyer", chained as he is in the abyss until such a time as the Lord deems fit to unchain him - which won't be a jolly thing for those walking the Earth in that time. I quickly decided, after the rather shaken and stirred Opossom showed me his mouth full of teeth, that the dog that was named after a Bear could possibly have made the wise choice by barking, and hoping that the Dad, the person who'd always saw to it that he was cared for - would rid him of this meddlesome Opossum.

A Cross Eyed Opossum Makes The News.

In Which A Dog Named Bear Re Claims His Home, and a Squatting Opossum is Evicted.

So what happened? In the end, we just couldn't take the constant barking. I assure you that no Opossums were harmed in this story. There have been far less fortunate Opossum's in the Shaw family history. Opossums are far better off sleeping in the dog's lair than they are eating chickens.
We finally wound up up - ending the dog house, and forcing the Opossum to flee, and flee it did. The dog, having never realized before that he'd been bestowed with a terrific shelter worthy of his presence - reclaimed. . .er, claimed his dog house, and to the end of his days, he slept in his dog house. Seriously.

The North American Opossum

Though commonly referred to as "possums," the creature living in North America - fond of killing Shaw family chickens, or usurping the ownership of a Shaw family dog house. . .is known as an "Opossum," and NOT a "possum." These fairly ugly omnivoures are the largest marsupials living in North America. They have a mouth that is literally packed full of teeth, and they have proven to be rather successful at living just about anywhere that they want to.
Do you see that large, pink, pig like nose? That's the Opossum's major food finder, danger finder, and all around sensing organ. It's eye's and ears are surely cherished, but the nose knows best.
Solitary and nomadic, these creatures will put as little effort into building a home as is possible; and there they will stay until the provisions run dry. I'm starting to find myself relating to the Opossum a bit. I'm having a hard time remembering anything so similar between me and that dog. The opossum also prefers the dark, and will move about at night, rather than in the daylight, if possible. Of course the most famous trait of the Opossum is it's tendency to "play possum." Isn't that Ironic? I mean - it's similar to the astronomical chances of Lou Gehrig getting "Lou Gehrig's disease." What were the odd?
Seriously though, the Opossum "plays possum" involuntarily when threatened or attacked. It seems that dead Opossums are rather unsavory, unless cooked just right. Okay I'm kidding, but the "possum play" is a seriously interesting thing. For all the world the "possum playing Opossum" will not only appear dead, but it will smell dead as well. It secrets a rather foul (unsurprisingly) smelling fluid from anal glands. I can't think of a better place for them to come from, can you? When this happens - the offensive smelling Opossum will be unconscious, and probably dreaming of dog houses - while you or I stand there going,
In the picture below. . . .hell, that could be a dead Opossum for all that I know. Heather, who grew up across the street from me, the dog named Bear, and the Opossum that tried to claim the dog's house -she tagged me in that photo on Facebook. So clearly that Opossum playing possum's name is "Wesman Todd Shaw," very seldom do large rat looking creatures ever get such a fine sounding name in this life, or any.

Baby Opossum.

An Opossum Playing Possum


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