Until last year, I had never seen a wild opossum, although I had been fascinated by them when I was younger. One year, when a late winter snow had melted, the flattened body of a deceased opossum was found lying on top of the wooden border of my father’s vegetable garden—cause of death unknown.
I asked my father if he would cover the body, and allow the ants to pick it clean—I wanted the skull. Bless his heart, I don’t think my father understood why his daughter wanted such a thing, but when the sun had bleached it clean, I received the skull, complete with all its teeth. I consider the skull a gift, and it still resides in a place of honor near my animal books.
Opossums have the most teeth of any terrestrial North American mammal (50), so their jaw is fearsome looking. And yet, they usually don’t bite when feeling threatened. Instead, they gape their jaws in a threat display. Based on my observations, it is possible that the gripping strength of their jaws are not comparable to other predators, which means that this opossum is very messy when trying to eat something like an apple. A lot ended up falling out of his mouth, and I’ve a few photos where you can see the contents all the way to his back teeth (-: Children who are told to chew with their mouths closed should love them.
This is the same opossum featured in Opossum’s Front Porch Visit video. I think of him as Opossum with a cap “O” and have a great deal of respect for his patient endurance. I am also quite fond of him.
Opossum has some major mobility issues compared to others I have seen. Not sure if he is plagued with old injuries, is partially blind, or just very old, but he lists to one side when he walks, and although opossums are known to have poor eyesight, this guy walks into things. He has a general idea of the direction he wants to go but has to search to find the path (see Opossum on Way Home video).
Opossum is not liked by the squirrels, crow Rogue and his family or the Stellar Jays. Indeed, I was awakened one morning by Rogue’s danger calls, and witnessed him dive-bombing Opossum as he sat and happily munched a piece of apple. Judging by how slowly and stiffly Opossum walks, I think his days of climbing and robbing nests is over, but clearly the local birds are taking no chances.
I will treasure Opossum’s visits for as long as he is able, offer Reiki if he wishes, and will keep him in my prayers. His visits bring me joy.
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.