My Digital Photography and Video of

Virginia Opossums

 

To me, opossums were always these elusive creatures that one barely ever caught a glimpse of.  I had only seen them a few times in my life at a distance of 5 feet or less (and usually, it was by shining a flashlight at one while it was hiding underneath a car or something).  That was until the year of 2010.  Brian started putting food out for the raccoons this year, and apparently, the opossums were enjoying the treats as well.  We discovered them later in the summer of 2010 and have identified at least 3 adults and one baby.  The neatest thing is that they seem to coexist very well with the raccoons, often sharing food from the same pile!

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Photos are displayed with most recent at the top of the page.

 

"Blackears" the Opossum

Summer 2010 - March 3, 2011

This opossum started visiting the house in the summer of 2010.  I named him "Blackears" because he had all-black ears, contrary to the other opossums that visited, who had pink markings as well. 

Here he is making "food balls" out of the peanuts on the steps on February 17, 2011.  You can hear Beatrice quacking in the background.

 

Here he is making "food balls" on February 20, 2011.

Sadly, on February 20, 2011, after I saw him make "food balls" out of the peanuts on the steps, I also saw some blood from where his tail had dragged in the snow.  I knew he was badly frostbitten. 

 

On February 23, a very cold day, when I came home from work, he was at the doorwall with his head down, looking like he was going to pass out right there.  I unlocked the doorwall and went around the back and took a plastic crate and nudged him inside the house.  It seemed as if he couldn't even lift his back end up to get more comfortable.   he looks a little agitated in the first photos, but he calmed down.  I hand fed him pieces of banana and gave him water from a spoon.  Then he slept for most of the evening.

   

     

   

 

I didn't think that I would need to cage him up because he barely moved and I thought he may even be dead in the morning.  However, that wasn't the case and in the middle of the night he wandered around and ended up behind a large display cabinet in the living room and I had to get him out with a net.  Unfortunately, the only cage that I had was rather rusty, but I lined it with towels to keep him comfortable.  His baby came on the night of the 24th and we slid the cage right up next to the doorwall.  They were able to see each other and say their goodbyes.

   

     

Blackears mostly slept during his time with me.  I think he was happy to be out of the cold.  I started to think maybe he could be rehabilitated and released.  Here he is on February 25th.

 

On February 26, 2011, I recorded him eating a plum.  The video is very dark though.  He seemed to really enjoy the plum.

He was hanging from his tail in these photos taken on March 3, 2011 at about 1am.  Sadly, these were his last photos and I found him dead in his cage that afternoon.  He looked peaceful, like he just died in his sleep.   He is buried in my garden.

     

 

 

Opossums sharing food with raccoon

October 18, 2010

Here are two opossums eating with a raccoon.  I took these through the glass of the doorwall because I didn't want to scare them off.

   

   

 

 

Young Opossum sharing food with raccoon

October 17, 2010

This young opossum is enjoying a shared meal with one of Ricki the Raccoon's babies, Rocky Jr.  It is also photographed by itself.  I carefully slid the doorwall open while they were out there and was so happy that they actually stayed and ate while I took all these photos!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

       

 

 

Young Opossum eating regurgitated peanuts

September 27, 2010

Here is a baby eating "food balls" as described in the 9-25-10 entry below.  The first photo has arrows pointing to the "food balls."

     

       

 

 

Young Opossums, one eating regurgitated peanuts

September 25, 2010

I discovered a very interesting phenomenon that does not seem to be widely documented, if at all.  It turns out that adult opossums will visit the peanut feeding area before the baby.  They spend time chewing the peanuts up into a "mash" and then they regurgitate them as neat little "food balls" and put them all over the place.  It took me a few months in order to finally figure out this mystery and actually see the adults making them and noticing that the young possums ate them.  When I looked more closely at these photos of the first young possum, I noticed that its teeth are barely visible---no wonder the parents are chewing its food!  I drew arrows in the last photo to show you what the "food balls" look like.  I think the first opossum is a bit older than the one at the ledge.

     

     

     

   

   

 

 

Opossum sharing food with Raccoon

September 21, 2010

I really wanted to show people how neat this was when they ate together.  I had to shoot these photos through the glass doorwall so they wouldn't get scared off.  They're not the best photos, but they do capture a very interesting scene.  Photos are displayed in the order taken---the last photos are the best.

     

     

     

     

     

       

 

 

September 20, 2010

These are the first photos I have ever taken of an opossum.  I took them through the glass doorwall so it wouldn't be scared away.

   

 

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