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Persimmon ’Possum by John M. Scanlon, M.D.

Early last October when I let my retrievers out to “air” in the predawn darkness, they excitedly circled a furry gray lump lying motionless in our backyard. They darted and sniffed at the object, not knowing exactly what it was. Typically, when they come across an animal or its remains, they try to fetch it for me, usually quite proudly. They made no move to pick the bundle up.

The motionless lump turned out to be an opossum (Didelphia virginiana) “playing ’possum.” The poor creature must have feared grave bodily harm from the two curious black dogs and went into defensive mode. The dogs were called off (another benefit of a well trained dog ... safety). When closely inspected, the wild animal was limp, with teeth bared,

Opossums can be cute, if you can’t see their teeth! 173

April 2014 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times April 2014

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