Tuesday, April 19, 2005

playing possum

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. 

13 comments:

jeanno43 said...

Well, I have heard the expression "playing Possum" many times but do you know this is the first time I have ever seen a Possum and it does look dead, the open mouth, the closed eyes etc.  Fascinating, thank you and what a great pic!

tamntheboyz said...

How funny!  Hubby once found a possum all curled up in one of his tool drawers in the barn.  He couldn't get the thing to leave, so finally had to lasso the darn critter and haul it out to the field!  Then that sneaky little varmit came back to his cozy bed!  Hubby finally decided to put his tools in the tool box instead, just to avoid that possum!            tam

csandhollow said...

That is a good one! I don't mind possums except when they would raid my chicken house.

lacaza3 said...

oh my gosh that is sooooo funny he even has his tongue sticking out...
how cute is that..Thanks I have never seen a possum but I have played possum HE! HE!
Donna In TEXAS

astaryth said...

Cool pic... I love the tongue hanging out! and I was ROFL when you described letting the dogs know their 'toy' was leaving!!
http://journals.aol.com/astaryth/AdventuresofanEclecticMind

bookncoffee said...

You are having fun in the woods and I'm enjoying your adventures......

madcobug said...

LOL on the possum. We once had one that came in our dog's doggie door into the house. It was during the night & our little dog woke me up barking like crazy and I was almost afraid to peep around the kitchen door to see what was disturbing him. The possum was eating dry dog food out of his bowl. My hubby got the broom and ran it out the sliding glass door.  Helen

sanforized6 said...

"Wood" I ever enjoy this whole deal!! LOL rich

jeff466 said...

I have never seen a possum play possum-I did find one in my air conditioner once, along with her babies.  Sounds like your experience was more pleasant!  

Thanks for sharing the picture.  It sounds like a really nice place to go to.

I hope you have a great day tomorrow-Jeff

toonguykc said...

This just might be my favorite entry of any AOL journal I've read!!  I love the story and the picture and the huge smile I still have on my face as I write this comment!!

ryanagi said...

That possum had two good scares today! LOL I always knew the origins of that expression "playing possum" but this is the first time I've actually SEEN it. That little critter does it as well as I do! I used to play dead when I was babysitting my little brother, just to freak him out. I was a mean big sister. I feel sort of bad about that now. LOL I wrote about that in my journal a while ago...seeing that little mouth open with the tongue hanging out just reminded me again.

deveil said...

my mom used to do the same thing, I have a possum story very similar to yours except he was in my trash can.  I thought he was dead until I tried dumping him out, then he jumped at me and scared me silly!  I screamed like a girl.

Derek
http://journals.aol.com/deveil/CelebrationofMyExhistance/
http://journals.aol.com/deveil/PictureoftheDay/

tendernoggle said...

Poor little critter! They are smart aren't they? lol
Carlene