This page is dedicated to
one of my favorite animals
"The wilderness is not a renewable resource. If it is possible for humans and wildlife to coexist, we must endeavor to understand as much as possible about their needs to minimize negative impacts."
Do possums really play possum?
The possum--the full name is opossum--is a North American mammal about the size of a cat. It looks pretty ratty, and in fact one variety is called the rat opossum. The most distinctive thing about the glamourless possum is how it reacts to predators. When it can't run or hide, and hissing and showing its teeth do not impress an enemy, the possum feigns death. But here's the catch: it's not "playing." This isn't an act and the animal can't control it. Its muscles stiffen out of sheer terror. The good news is that the predator is then likely to go away, sparing the possum's life. Imagine how many years of twice-a-week psychotherapy the possum probably needs after such trauma, not to mention a prescription for an antidepressant.