Saturday, November 24, 2007


Several evenings in the past week or two Murphy was on sentry duty in front of the kitchen door staring intently into the night. I never could see what he was looking at and I chalked it up to wishful thinking on his part. But last night it became clear. Apparently I'm being too generous with Jake's evening meal and this 'possum is cleaning up for him.

I have a kind of soft spot in my heart for opossums. They're so intently focused on finding food, they seem - well - not too bright. I'm not happy that Jake is allowing this (he's hunkered down just to the left of this photo.) When I got a look at the 'possum's teeth and claws I could understand. Jake's pretty aggressive but he's figured out that this isn't going to be his last free meal so he seems to be willing to share.

I understand that opossums have fairly tough lives, but every bowl of cat food he's eating represents one or two mice or a whole handful of slugs he's ignoring.

Opossums seem like a design by committee. They have prehensile tails, thumb-like digits on their back feet, 50 teeth (!), thirteen teats (asymmetry is unusual in vertebrates) and two vaginas (or, in the case of males, a two-prong penis.) Really! One can only speculate on the adaptive advantages of that.

I'm now trying to figure out why this article, Evolution of Marsupials, sounds so much more plausible than Marsupial Evolution and Post Flood Migration.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! I want to learn more about 'possums now!