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Possums don't always play dead

Possum at Fairmount station in Hyde Park

Mike Ball bravely photographed this snarly, ravenous opossum at the Fairmount commuter-rail station this morning.

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Comments

Nocturnal animals out in the daytime is usually not a good sign. Often this suggests they are sick or rabid. Do not approach or get near.

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It's all good. "Nocturnal" animals are often also active early in the morning. Unless an animal looks sick or is acting aggressive, no need to worry.

Also: Adorable!

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Just sayin...

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I'm willing to let bygones be bygones.

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It's the silent "o" that gets me.

Those things are absolute evidence that every once in a while even God has to say, "God damn it. Really screwed that one up." Followed by "Crap, that thing is so ugly it made me break my own commandment."

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Your ignorance.

Possums are resistant to rabies.

Scavenging animals will be out whenever the pickings are best, regardless of their supposed "nature".

You are welcome ... to google that.

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Giving anonymous nerds the balls to be snarky since Gore invented it.

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We are in the presence of a snarkmaster.

Pretty true story...years ago I was bitten by an opossum that was dead, then bit me, then was dead again. I started the rabies regimen at the MGH. What they do, is they shoot you in the abdomen with a .22 caliber rifle. Twice. A day. For a week. Then they shoot you once a day for another week. Then you live.

The Commissioner of Communicable Disease stopped the regimen on day two with the explanation that 'there has not been an instance of rabies in a marsupial in Massachusetts since before the turn of the century".

Apparently I had, statistically, a better chance of getting sick from the shots than from the 'possum.

They said, "Call us if you have a problem". Right. If I start foaming at the mouth, the Commissioner better watch his ass, cause I'm gonna bite it.

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But I would have worried about turning into a zombie after being bit by a dead possum...

(Glad you're okay!)

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Mean that the possums can't act as reservoirs for the rabies virus? Many species of bats are resistant to rabies but they can still transmit the virus.

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I used www.duckduckgo.com the website that doesn't track you! and I found some interesting stuff about ticks.

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A rabid animal will have other odd behaviors in addition to being out at an unexpected time. Plenty of nocturnal animals have perfectly normal reasons or seasons that they emerge in the daytime.

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/facts/rabies.html

http://opossumsocietyus.org/faq-opossum/#If opossums are nocturnal

Question: If opossums are nocturnal then why do I see one in the day?

Answer: There are a number of reasons for opossum sightings during the day. If it is winter in an extremely cold area, usually covered with snow, then the opossum may be hungry. It is often difficult for an opossum to find food in extremely cold, snowy areas. During sever weather the opossum may stay in a den a few days until hunger drives it out of hiding. The opossum may have to forage for food during the day, often while it is warmer. During the spring or summer months a female opossum laden with young must spend more time foraging for food and may be seen during the day. Also, an opossum’s daytime hiding area may be disturbed, often by the presence of a dog or children throwing a ball into a bush. The frightened animal will run out and search for a new hiding place. Other possibilities include a blind opossum or a sick or injured opossum. If you suspect the opossum is not healthy then contact a local wildlife rehabilitator.

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Plenty of nocturnal animals have perfectly normal reasons or seasons that they emerge in the daytime.

I'm a goth and sometimes even I need milk.

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They keep you and you kids from getting Lyme disease! They are by far the most effective tick killing machine nature has provided us, and in the Northeast, where Lyme is growing, these little critters can suck up thousands of the little bastards!

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Good, they kill ticks. Been bit by a few of them, too, so they didn't get them all.

Maybe they were just too busy playing dead with their stupid little tongue hanging out.

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You're like one of those people who got stung by a bee once so now they hope all bees, and half our food supply, disappears because they're a special snowflake.

I'd rather hundreds avoid Lyme disease, even if that means you get bit a few times. You can be our opossum-bitten savior.

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I can bring them back from the dead, long enough for them to bite me. Oh, I like bees, even though I was stung on the eyelid, TWICE, as a kid.

I am a very special snowflake.

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I changed my mind. The tick thing is pretty cool.

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...

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This time of the year I've had to dispose of several that really were dead: One morning as I was putting out my trash I found one lying at the base of the street tree in front of my house--conveniently, I was doing some house construction at the time so I simply got out my shovel and a heavy trash bag. I later had to do the same thing after another one got run over on the hill next to my house--as I once also did with a skunk. (A neighbor told me that possums are more visible during the summer as it's their mating season.) But the most jarring experience was the morning my lover and I woke up to find not one but two dead baby possums on the front and back lawn of his house in Quincy...

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I believe this is true...ok, tire tracks, it ain't playing, BUT, if you find a dead one and roll it over, it will roll over to its original side. I think. I didn't do it. But, they really do look dead with their stupid little opossum tongue hanging out.

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but they do look stupid with their tongues hanging out when they're faking they're dead.

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ravenous? how could one know unless he snatched your lunch?
saw this guy this morning about 6am and was still there some time later. Not a great location for a possum (top of a chain link fence) but certainly out of the way of dogs.

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I also saw the possum this morning on my way to work but I think it was stuck up there with the spikes of the top of the chain-link fence, because it was some type of something leaking down onto the sidewalk I didn't get close enough to look !

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You do not want an anteater for a pet.

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See the bite taken out of that ear?

I love possums.They're tough little critters.

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How come they don't stay dead? They just bite, then roll over with their stupid little opossum toungue hanging out.

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This is what a veterinarian told me after I tried to save a opossum and her babies, the mother didn't make it but the babies, 3 of them did.
The vet told me don't touch them and wash your hands several times.

Support New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth http://www.newildlife.org/

PS: They answer questions and have an ER for injured wildlife.

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You and Elmer need to shack up. Your shtick is getting older even faster than his.

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Adorable!

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Friendo, you clearly need to work out these possum feelings. Have you considered therapy?

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She played dead until I left. Second visit. I have that effect on people.

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I, for one, appreciate DMC's consistent stance vis-à-vis possums. If I had to get the abdominal rabies shot, I'd probably say fuck the responsible species as well.

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That would be the placental mammal with the brain big enough to think twice about poking even a dead wild animal once with a bare hand.

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I would never put my hand near a supposedly dead animal unless it exhibited at least one of the characteristics approved by EMS for calling a non-viable.

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Any update on the opossum?
In the future, if anyone sees an animal that they think may be in distress, you can call ARL Animal Rescue League or/and New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth to see what they advise.
ARL will often transport the animal to New England Wildlife Center, if need be.
They have an ER there and a rehab center, the poor critter will get an excellent evaluation and they always release them back into the wild if possible.
Check out their website. It's a great place to take kids for a visit.

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They no longer give the shots in the stomach! I had to go for the rabies vaccines a couple years back, and I just needed them in my arm and butt. Wasn't so bad.

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