Marsupial Madness

July 2, 2013

Or… here we go again!  It’s another predator at the party.

During the dark night, another creature wandered into The Farmer’s trap.  When I went out to check, this particular possum wasn’t playing dead… she was just fast asleep.  That didn’t last long however.  Our farm collie, Toby, was sniffing around the cage, and that got her attention in a hurry!

picture of mother opossum

If seems if opossums are not playing dead, their other favorite defense mechanism is baring their teeth and hissing.  She did it quite well.

Mama Mia!

Now you might wonder how I was so sure it was a SHE opossum. Well, I’ll just show you how I knew:

picture of opossum

See all those extra little tails hanging out of her pouch?  Yep, mama marsupial has a bunch of little minion marsupials!

Supposedly, female opossums often give birth to very large numbers of young.  They only gestate for a couple of weeks, but once they are born, the little ones have to crawl into the pouch and find a teat for nourishment.  So even though there might be a whole lot of little ones born, not many make the journey and survive.

This particular mama had at least 6 babies that I could count.  (If you count possum tails, then count them again, does that count as retail therapy?)

I tried to get a better picture of the babies in her pouch by tilting the cage up, but wasn’t very successful.

picture of opossum and pouch

Still, you can see where the pouch is, and if you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, it’s easier to see one little tail hanging out of the pouch and another one is visible.

I left at that, because I didn’t want to bug her too much in the pursuit of a picture.

A Predator Here, A Predator There

Predators, predators, everywhere!

In the 15+ years we’ve lived here, since we got an LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog), we’ve only noticed an occasional opossum in the front yard… the dogs can’t get there.   And we’d never seen ANY foxes before.  Now there seems to be an entire contingent of them!

I don’t think they all suddenly materialized this summer.  Nope, the changed factor is our beloved Neffie, our Maremma Sheepdog, is no longer here keeping watch over the animals.  When she died, I really didn’t think I’d get another dog to replace her, but it looks like that’s the only way we’re going to be able to keep our chickens, turkeys and guineas from being fox food.

Now the question is, what kind of dog to get this time?  Another Maremma?  A Great Pyranees?  An Anatolian?  Guess that’s my next farm project.

We need to go from Predator Party to PUPPY POWER!

Leave a Comment: