Monday, May 3, 2010

TMI Tuesday.....


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A Mr. Buford 'High-Pockets' Boxelder from Possum Hollow West Virginia asks...
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Dear Mr. Knowitall, I just LOVE my pet possum 'Sleepy'.
Can you tell me a little something about these ornery critters?
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Dear High-Pockets, you bet your britches I can!!
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Possums are among the oldest mammals on Earth! Fossil records show them going back nearly 100 Million years. And strangly enough, those scary toothy hissy little marsupials, are nearly identical to the ones that walked with T-Rex! They have survived that long with very little evolutionary changes. There used to be thousands of species of marsupials in North America, but over a period of about Ten Thousand years, they all migrated south to what is now South America. All except one that is...The Possum!
The Survival cards were stacked against them though...
They are NOT fast: Top speed 1.7 MPH!
They are NOT large: Adults range from 6-12 #'s
They are Not smart: It has the smallest brain to body ratio of any land animal.
They are not agressive or well suited for fighting. So how did they beat the odds?
* They will eat ANYTHING..Worms , snails , insects, toads, garbage, vegetables.
* They are unusualy resistant to diseases. Including rabies! And snake venom does not seem to bother them too much either. A bite from a viper that could kill a horse, has little effect on a Possum.
* They have a prehensile (grasping) tail that can be used for gathering nest material, and they can climb trees and hang from branches to escape predators!
* They are the only species other than primates that have an opposable thumb. It's on their hind feet, and they use it to grasp with...Just like humans.
* "Playing Possum"...When they are threatened by an enemy, they don't have a lot to work with. Oh they hiss and growl, and bare their 50 or so teeth, and vomit and deficate toward you, and even emit a foul odor. But a very hungry predator is not scared off by a little puke and shit, so they have their greatest weapon...They pass out! It's not a ploy...When confronted by overwhelming danger, their system shuts down and goes into a 'Coma' or shock-like state. The heart rate drops, body temperature drops, the tongue hangs out, they drool, and to most they appear dead. Most predators will not eat dead animals, they may sniff around, but usually walk off leaving it alone.
* Male Possums have a forked penis! Female Possums have a two-channel vagina! That means everything has to line up perfectly for successful mating, this simple biological trait has prevented them from being cross-bred over the years. Thats why they will probably survive another 100 Million years!!
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I hope that this has been informative and educational 'High-Pockets'...
BTW...Wednesday afternoon about 1:00 PM or so, I should be passing right through Possum Hollow West Virginia. Maybe we can meet down by Ma Puckett's General Store and have some boiled peanuts and a Moon-Pie?
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Mr. Knowitall grows weary...
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Peace...!!!

15 comments:

secret agent woman said...

All I know is they have a mighty sharp set of chompers and I keep my distance.

Me said...

Haha...very informative, and very funny. I especially enjoyed seeing how much you like vegetables. They rate pretty far down on the list of "eating anything", even lower than garbage! Someone should tell those possums they could have just had a V8! :)

Jingle said...

smart post!
Happy Tuesday!

Brian Miller said...

and if you know how to cookem'....well dont invite me to dinner...lol.

Serena said...

I love Moon Pies but detest boiled peanuts and avoid possums at every opportunity.:)

Missy said...

Urmmmmmmmmmmmmm they do get huge!!! up to xl size here in the south!!!!

Ask the one I met face to face last month. Thought there were some cats outside causing a ruckus, rushed out and abruptly stopped. That sucker was eating our cats food. It looked at me and I told it to shoo, they don't listen just hiss at you.

Needless to say I went in, in a hurry. Score one for the Opossum

Akelamalu said...

Fascinating G-man - I didn't know any of that!

gregj said...

Wow. that is a lot of information about possums.
You left out how to cook them.

lime said...

are you sure about that brain to body ratio thing? ostrich eyeballs are bigger than ostrich brains.

but the reproductive anatomy, wow, that's just kind of bizarre!

Mama Zen said...

That could be more information about the sex habits of possums than I needed to know . . .

Gillian said...

Those two have the same dentist, don't they?

Silver Strands said...

Wow ... all I need to know about possums! Thanks :)

Denalee

Greg S. said...

But wasn't the question about raccoons?

chitowngreg
http://chitowngreg.wordpress.com

buffalodick said...

Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to a possum it could be done! One in my yard did what I couldn't do- it cleaned out a nest of digger wasps- stings didn't seem to bother it (fatty layer protects them)

clean and crazy said...

funny how mother nature thought ahead on that one huh? no cross breading!! wow our scientists have been doing that for a while but that makes this one unique in the fact that it is still the same!! way cool