Thursday, December 01, 2016

Visiting Opossums....Size and Ear Patterns. Are There Two of Them or Are There THREE?

This is Pinky, whom I take to be a female.   She is about
half the size of the male opossum or opossums. 

Yes I've been spending hours and hours comparing big possum pics trying to decide if there really is more than one Butch. For right now we'll just pretend there is only one. 

 Now back to Pinky.  Note that all her front toes are pink with black palm gloves.  Some of Butch's toes are black.   She also has more pink area  on the tops of her ears than Butch does.

 And to help in memorizing her ear patterns
 for later  identification, I've decided that the dark parts of her ears appear to be black Halloween ghosts with their arms outstretched saying BOO.

It doesn't help that the ear pigmentation pattern sometimes looks different depending on whether you are seeing the back or front of the ear.  Not only that but ear patterns look somewhat different depending on the direction of the light..

Note Pinky's size in relation to the coal chute cover. 

Now look at Butch who is in somewhat the same position in relation to the chute cover.
Can you see the difference in size?  In reality he is quite a bit larger than she is.

A conundrum...

No opossums have visited in the last two days even though there is a mound of food waiting for them.  

How do I know they haven't visited?  I arrange the food in a way so that I can tell if it has been disturbed.

Plus, I am at a bit of a disadvantage as I suspect meat is their favorite and I don't dare put that out very often as I don't want to attract the feral cats that just might decide Pinky looks like a nice snack.  She might be able to take them but I don't want to put the opossums in danger in the feeding area.

My current theory is that Pinky and Butch may have found a dead deer or other large animal and they have been working on that for the last couple of days. 

Also as deer season for bow is still open someone may have field dressed a deer in the woods not far away and the opossums are busy tidying up the leavings.

Donegal Browne

P.S.  Up for tomorrow Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot, Squirrel the Black Cat and Tig the Basinji play The Great Tootsie Pop Game!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


It is raining and has been raining heavily all day and into the night.  Temperature has been in the low 40's.  Butch is quite soaked.  Ordinarily the long hairs of his coat catch the rain and keep it from soaking the fur close to his body but even this adaptation isn't working in this constant heavy cold rain.

2:28 AM  Just as I discovered Butch's visit, he was pulling today's piece of apple pie off the window ledge.  He is now eating it.  Somewhat out of sight unfortunately.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Butch the Opossum Goes For Apple Pie

10:23PM  I'd put a piece of homemade apple pie on the window sill and then went about my business.  Butch hadn't been arriving until the wee hours of the morning.  But evidentally Butch smelled pie and he arrived early.  
Butch keeps eating but he has changed to a binoc eye focus just in case I try something shady.
I evidentally have passed the possible shady test and Butch goes back to a focus on eating.
Other options for food are a tangerine, shredded carrots and apple peels.  Pie wins.
Note Butch's inciser.
Butch mines the crack between the window and the sill.  I decide as he may be becoming more shy about appearing at the feeding station that I will exit and give him some privacy.

In the meantime, here is a crop of Butch the opposum's toes.  They appear almost as if they have scales.  

The claws are curved and as opossums don't do much in the way of heavy digging as in burrow excavation, I am positing that they evolved at least in part for tree climbing and traction.

I wonder what tomorrow may bring.

Donegal Browne