Monday, November 07, 2016

Stare Down Between Pinkie the Opossum vs Squirrel the Cat Part 2

Here is a great look at Pinkie's front toes.  Another selling point of Opossums when it comes to humans is they don't dig up the yards of people who are yard proud.  Note Pinkie has nails but they  aren't of the heavy duty digging variety.

Which brings up another nifty attribute of Opossums.  They have prehensile back feet.

Yes indeed.  They have an opposable toe, akin to our thumb which  opposes our fingers that allow for a good grip on things.  That is how opossums manage to hang upside down with some stability. 
Pinkie goes back to watching whatever it is that keeps taking her focus.
She licks her mouth.  Also it is hard not to notice that Pinky has quite a number of "stick tights" on the top middle of her back where they are very difficult to get rid of them.  

Wisconsin currently has a grand crop of stick tights going.
She goes down for another crunchy mouthful of sunflower seeds though now I seem to be the one she is keeping on eye on.
I'm not sure if Squirrel is just being cozy up against my leg or whether he's begun to find Pinky a little creepy.
Squirrel heads for the bathroom and Pinky watches him.  Squirrel is still the creature, between he and I that Pinky is most interested in.
Squirrel plops down half in and half out of the bathroom with his back turned.  ???  Pinky goes back to eating.  

By the way opossum have 50 extremely sharp little teeth in their mouths and they know how to use them.

Then Pinky scopes the room again.
 Pinky does a little more eating.  Ahhh.  Lets take a look at that 
exposed foot.
Check out the horny growth on that "finger".  I can't think of another creature except we and our relative species that have anything close to our fingernails. 

Anybody out there think of one?

Pinky has pretty much "vacuumed" the sill clean. 

She goes out on the slightly down slanted wooden cover of the coal chute and continues to forage.

That looks like a somewhat exposed front and a back foot center.  Let's take a look.

Okay here is a front and back foot next to each other.  I wonder if the opposable digit is in the same position as in humans, i.e. closest to the body like our thumbs?


            Photo by: Brittany Mils           
The opposable digit is sort of nearest the body, like ours though in a track it appears to be coming out the back of the "palm".

The pink thing toward the back doesn't seem to have a visible it something else.   It  can't be a nipple as marsupial milk dispensers are in the pouch.  

A penis?



Marsupials have bifurcated penises. 

What does a bifurcated penis look like you ask?
 Here is an example.   Definitely not what we are looking at on our opossum.

I'm assuming now that the pink naked thing toward the rear of our opossum is a toe from the other back foot.

Then Pinky did something utterly endearing.

She licked her front paws and proceeded to wash her face.
And kept washing it until it reached her level of satisfaction.
Then she went to the edge of the coal chute cover, checked out the area and slide silently into the night.

Every evening now I make sure the windowsill has a plentiful supply of sunflower seeds at dusk.

And every night since, around midnight Squirrel the cat sets up camp on the floor beneath  window and waits.

Sometimes a wildlife adventure can be had just by heading to the bathroom to brush your teeth. 

Keep watching!
Donegal Browne