I often used to accuse my children of playing possum when they were small, especially my daughter. We'd be in the car returning home from a trip someplace, and she'd feign sleep because she knew her daddy would carry her inside when we arrived home. I've played possum myself, a few times. But until today, I had never seen a POSSUM play possum!
I went to the cabin at 2, before Cliff left for work. I trimmed back some brush with the nippers, and sawed a couple of larger saplings down. Then I sat on the porch, and Mandy joined me. Today Buddy accompanied Mandy and me; I always try to sneak off when he isn't around, because he pees on everything, so I have to be careful what I lay down. Buddy started barking furiously in the woods, and Mandy shot off like a cannon to see what the excitement was about. The barking got close enough that I decided to go see what was going on, not thinking to grab the camera. When I got to the action, I saw they were circling an apparently dead possum. I looked closely, and it seemed dead to me. Then I noticed that when Buddy would sorta goose him with his nose, he'd scrunch up his eyes tighter. He was playing dead! His tongue lolled out of his mouth, his eyes were shut: Oh, this possum was GOOD at his game.
I hurried to the cabin for the camera, being careful not to trip over the tangled vines and underbrush. As I got back, I saw the dogs had lost interest, and the possum was up and walking away. When he saw me, he picked up speed, and I figured I'd lost out on a good picture. But I called the dogs, and sure enough, when they saw their toy was alive after all, they started worrying him until he dropped and curled up tightly once again. At one point, Mandy picked him up and dropped him, and he went bouncing down the hill like a ball. When he landed, he was still playing dead! Notice in the picture, he has sharp little teeth, and could have really put some hurt on those dogs if he'd wanted to!
Wow, what fun I'm having in the woods.