I'm not in a hurry to do that again

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterby, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Do you know how scary looking possums are when they are scared/angry? They have a BIG mouth and some rather gnarly looking teeth. And they make scary noises.

    I thought possums played dead. Not this one. S/he turned around to face her attacker head on.

    I was really hoping that they moved slow like I had heard since I had to get within 2 feet of it to get Jewel away from it. And she had no intention of going anywhere so I had to pick her up and carry her in. Then go back outside to get Hydro who came over to see what was going on and seemed a bit too interested in the possum. The possum was bigger.


    I'm pretty sure the possum would have beaten them both.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Unusual behavior for a possum. Around here they'll run or something. Well, unless they've befriended the cats. But I still think that one we had was someone's pet at one point. He was just too friendly. lol
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    If that's friendly, I'd hate to see what it's like in a bad mood...
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    They do turn around and hiss when you bother them. Remember my house guests?

    I thought they would play possum too. Nope! They turned and hissed at us when we tried to grab them to take them outside. Its their defense mechanism. I dont think they would have bitten the dog or the cat. Surely all that ruckus would have scared them away then the possum could have waddled its way away to freedom...lol.
  6. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Buster the boxer managed to actually "catch" a possum once. He really didn't know what to do with it, and the possum was totally ticked off. So he dropped it, and the now slobber covered possum ran under my car, doing that open mouth "hiss hiss" hopping thing they do when they are ticked. Buster couldn't get under the car - so he kept chasing around the car. I finally had to bring Buster in the house, and it took about another 30 minutes for the stupid possum to calm down and leave the yard.

    With it's hair now looking like a porcipine cuz it was full of dried boxer slobber.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I thought they could carry rabies- is that not true? I used to live in a place where they would get in the garbage can next to the house almost every night. They would hiss when I went outside to smoke- but then they would scurry away.
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Possums don't carry rabies. Something I learned when I worked for a vet.
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Possums are a marsupial and marsupials cannot carry rabies. They can, however, deliver the heck of a bite. I seem to recall that they have more teeth than any other mammal.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Aussie possums are cuter but in a lot of ways, similar in behaviour. It sounds like the noises they make are similar.

    Ours will beat up a domestic cat and will snarl and fight, but only if cornered. Usually they will leave if they aren't happy with things. I've rarely been bitten, usually only when my hand was mistaken for food. Even wild possums which are allowing themselves to be hand-fed, have not bitten me except twice, when I was mistaken for food. I've picked up a wild, injured possum from the road and was not bitten (although I did take some precautions).

    Aussie possums don't play dead. And they can move fast, either running on the ground or climbing. When mating or when scared or even when excited by food (such as when I put out a rotten mango for them to finish off) they make the same sort of noises - really terrifying, if you don't know what it is!

    And in recent weeks, we've discovered our town has a new native denizen in bulk - Flying Foxes! Their noises are like a combination of Rainbow Lorikeet and angry possum... but when they fly they sound like someone flapping an umbrella to dry it. Flying Foxes are placentals, so they can carry rabies. We don't have rabies in Australis but we do have Lyssa Virus and Hendra Virus. Research ito those diseases is in early days but understanding so far is that bats seem to be either a vector or a primary host. And you don't need to be bitten. Hendra seems to need to pass through a horse for it to infect humans. It mostly kills (human and horse). Not much treatment as yet. But cases are rare, we've only had about half a dozen so far.

    If you ever get the chance to look at a possum skull, you will find that your opossum as well as our Aussie possums are both equipped with diprotodont dentition. So are wombats, koalas and roos. It's those bottom teeth that are angled out like chisels. About 20,000 years ago we had giant wombats, giant roos and killer possums (also giant) roaming Australia. They were also equipped with the same sort of teeth. In fact, the giant wombat was named for it - Diprotodon. The killer possum was called Thylacoleo, more commonly called Marsupial Lion, although it lived in trees and dropped onto its prey. If you ever see a skull of one of those, it's scary. Not just the front teeth, but the side ones- they were in a long shear-like form that worked like secoteurs, in what were perhaps among the most powerful jaws of any mammal ever.

    But if you avoid trapping a possum in a corner, make sure it can see an escape route, chances are it will choose retreat rather than attack and will give you nothing more than a bad fright.

    I'll have to check size - our biggest possum is the bobuck, it's bigger than the biggest domestic cat I've ever seen. Maybe about as big. Very heavy, very dark-furred. I think what got sent to NZ to establish a fur trade, were bobucks. Big mistake.

  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've never heard of them carrying rabies either. I used to have one that waddled out of the bushes every night, came up on my back porch, and finished up any food that the cats had left in their bowl. I could hear him crunching! He was actually kind of cute for a possom, all white and kind of chubby. He didn't seem to be afraid and the cats would just be sitting there watching him eat and weren't bothered at all. If I opened the door and looked at him through the glass storm door, he's just look up at me and then go right back to eating! I figured he wasn't hurting anything and just left him to have at it. I haven't seen him for a while now and I kind of miss him!