Monday, December 05, 2016

Butch and Pinkie the Opossums Wash Their Faces...and a Look at That Opposable Back Toe!

As it turns out opossums are quite into tidying up.   Particularly after eating anything in which their "hands" were involved  or if their face might have gotten icky. 

Note how when Pinky is washing her palms/pads and outside fingers she has placed her inside finger against her tongue so it gets a bit of a scrub on the in and out.

I also find opossum teeth fascinating.  Just look at the variation.

Her tongue is quite flexible and mobile...and quite wet.  Here it is bending backwards onto the bottom pads and the licking is rapid.

Once her paws are reasonably clean and wet, Pinky scrubs them quite rapidly over her muzzle.

Then she licks her paws clean again, licks her muzzle and does another scrub.

Butch goes through somewhat the same procedure but doesn't tip his body back as far on his hind legs.

He also does both front paws and then goes for his muzzle.  He worked at it for awhile as he'd just devoured a piece of sugary apple pie. Then he too scrubbed his muzzle. 

  He evidentally got quite full as he left a piece of crust, right.  Crust being an Opossum

If eating only sunflower seeds neither Pinky or Butch bothered with a scrub before leaving.
Here is Pinky letting herself down off coal chute cover.  

Look at that tail.
Opossum tails are also fascinating.  As we know they are prehensile but not in the curly active way that say some monkey tails behave.  They are odd... (I know what do I want....THIS IS A OPOSSUM)...heavy looking, awkward, and stiffish until suddenly they start picking things up or using them to climb.  Then their tail suddenly becomes more alive and no longer looks so awkward and carrot-ish.
And there it is!  On the right of her foot-the opposible toe. 

 Also strange looking. 

 Currently Pinky is gripping the edge of  coal shoot cover with some of her front toes and using the other two toes for balance.  Note how the opposible toe is turned  up toward her body.  If she were just walking that toe would tend to trail out behind her foot a bit

This makes oppossum tracks look a bit strange but notable if you are tracking.

Speaking of tracking, neither Pinky nor Butch have returned to the feeding station for some time or at least I've not found a trace of them.

Though perhaps I need to put something more tempting out for them.

Today it snowed several inches.  Perhaps sunflower seeds and various legumes and a variety of snack food just aren't making it anymore.

I do have to admit that the female Crows loved the eggshells and the Blue Jays are mad for stale Fritos though.

Yes, it is time to put out bigger opossum temptations...peanut butter and peaches in heavy syrup.

And soon the hawks may be stalking the feeders besides.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

No comments: