The Possums of early March 2015

by Sharon, Pam Wilson, Terri, Michelle Dean, Marilyn, Armen, Braden, Tracy Huff, Liana, Jodi, Michael C, June
(Oakville, Markham, St Catharines, Guelph, Binbrook, Ajax, Windsor, Mount Brydges, Brantford, Toronto, Strathroy)

Possum, also called the Virginia Opossum

Possum, also called the Virginia Opossum

In the first couple of weeks of March, we received numerous reports of Possums sighted around the province - here are some of them that you may find interesting.

On March 4, 2015, Sharon from Oakville reported seeing two possums in her yard, she says ..... one Possum is hiding on the front porch under an overturned blue box. I fed him apples and grapes and he did not run away. Meanwhile the Possum in the backyard was under the bird feeder eating seed. Fed him apples and grapes. Did not think of taking a picture.

March 7, 2015, Pam Wilson from Markham, Ontario, told us ..... We have had possums for the past four years. It's March 7, 2015 at 3 pm and one has eaten all the outside cat food. It is now curled up in the front porch asleep. We have seen them eat with the cats. Raccoons tend to keep their distance, so do skunks. We live beside a grave yard, they are slowly losing their forests and land to roam. Very sad, but I don't like it when they poop and pee on my door mat.

Also on March 7, 2015 Terri from St Catharines, Ontario says ..... I just saw one in my backyard. The dog chased it to the top of the fence and they just stared and growled back and forth at each other. Very cute, but I hope it goes away.

On March 8, Michelle Dean from Guelph wrote to say ..... I had a Possum at my gate late last night. He was there for 3 hours. I was worried that he was sick or injured. Around midnight, I checked again and he was gone.

March 8 Marilyn from Binbrook, Ontario, said ..... Last week something had eaten into the lid of my bird seed barrel and then yesterday I looked out the window and a Possum is at my feeding area for rabbits and birds.

March 8, Armen from Guelph wrote to tell us ..... Just had a visit from our friendly neighbourhood Possum, 5:30 pm, trudging through the snow in our backyard. Guelph, Ontario, South End, Gordon and Clair area.

March 8, Braden from Ajax, Ontario, reported ..... There is a big fella sitting on our back yard fence right now! It must weigh twelve pounds or more. Still lots of snow on the ground and it looks a bit groggy. Do they hibernate for the winter?

On March 9 Tracy Huff from Windsor said ..... I have a darker grey Opossum who has been feeding off the dry cat food that I have for my stray outdoor cat. This Opossum has been spotted many times since November 2014. This January in the deep polar cold temperatures, I found him sleeping in the hay that I had in the shed for the outdoor cat. After the coldest temperatures (-25/-26C) in February I did not see him for 2 whole weeks. Last week, I went outside to feed the stray cat and there he was alive and eating cat food. He was ever so quiet until Friday evening, when I found him hiding behind the cat shelter until he made a hiss/hrmph sound. I discovered he has a cute white wife in the cat shelter. Who should I call to remove the family? I am afraid the cats may harm the babies.
March 9, Liana from Mount Brydges wrote to say ..... We are about 15 minutes west of London, Ontario. At 6:30 pm DST a very large Possum was moving slowly across my yard. The poor thing was breaking through the snow with every step. He must have a decent food source cause he was the largest Possum I've ever seen! I'm surprised I haven't seen him before because he went right under the neighbour's shed.

Also on March 8th, Jody from Brantford wrote to say ..... My neighbour scared it out of his garbage can the other night and I saved it from my startled dog (who was growling and barking at the poor thing) when it wandered into my backyard!

Michael C from Toronto reports ..... On Sunday March 8, 2015 at about 12:30 noon I saw a Possum walking through the snow in my mother's backyard in North York. Our ever benign dog, Star, was wagging her tail wanting to go out to say hello. Putting the leash on Star I took her out to the backyard, but the possum had gone to hide in an old dog house in the furthest part of the yard. I did not allow the dog to corner it for fear the Possum might bite the dog in defense. Mother is quite concerned about this new invader as Raccoon and Squirrel are 'old school'. Mother is consoled to find that according to your website possums are placid. Is it true you can eat them? I remember on the Beverly Hillbillies show Granny always talking about "Possum Pie".

On March 11 June from Strathroy wrote to say ..... My husband saw a possum running along the fence in our backyard on a bright spring day. He was staring to clean the winter out of our yard and noticed him crawling along the fence. He didn't know if it would harm our dogs or not, so he brought them indoors. I would like to know what kind of damage they can do, and are they rabid?

Thank you all for writing to tell us about your Possum sightings.

To answer your questions - Braden, I don't believe they hibernate for the winter, however, they are not native to this area, and originate from the Southern States where it is warmer. Perhaps when they are here, they do hibernate or at least stay hidden and quiet for the cold winter months. I have observed Possums with frost-bite damaged ears and tails, so they don't always stay out of the cold.

I'm not sure who you would call, Tracy, to remove them, but Possums are marsupials and the young live and grow in the mother's pouch, so if they have young right now, that is where the little 'uns will be, and they will be portable at this stage.

Michael - I believe that Possums are edible, although, I'm not sure that I'd want to eat one! Good old Granny Clampett used to scrape road kill off the pavement and cook up a batch of Possum for dinner!

I think I'd rather watch them than eat 'em!

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