Possum Patrol or Surprising Superpower
By Guest Contributor, Kimberly Guthrie
Oh no! She’s dead! My heart fell as I gazed into the depths and saw her laying there with her mouth open, a blank stare in her eyes and the smell of death exuding from her body. As I peered in, I was startled to see her young clinging to her side, drawing the last bit of nourishment from her, too young to survive the harsh world without her help.
Before giving up on her… a test. I grabbed a cup of water and dribbled some onto her side. Maybe she wasn’t dead… Shock and Awe! She sat up, hissed, and showed off her sharp pearlies. She was very much alive and angry too, for she and her young were trapped and in danger!
She didn’t stay much longer in that perilous place. A gallant rescuer turned the trash can on its side in the forest, where she wandered off after safer fare, a taxi cab for her young (called joeys) in her pouch.
You may have guessed, the unwise wanderer in this drama is an opossum or a Possum, as we call it in East Texas. And a word to the wise, this is a critter you definitely want around your acreage. The Oppossum, North America’s only marsupial (pouched mammal) now has a welcome mat spread in many yards because of its surprising superpower. It can kill up to 5,000 ticks per season! This helps counter the rise in deer tick populations and the spread of Lyme disease.
If cornered, opossums may hiss or growl, but more than likely, they will faint in shock at the prospect of confrontation, or they’ll “play dead,” as I found the one in the trash can. Interestingly, animal experts do not believe possums purposefully play dead to evade predators. They faint involuntarily when they become overwhelmed and anxious!
What if you happen upon one of these sleeping beauties? The best thing to do upon finding an injured or apparently dead opossum is to leave it in a quiet place with a clear exit path. More than likely, in a few minutes or hours, the opossum will escape quietly on its own.
I see a comparison between the possum and myself. There have been times when I have panicked (fainted) – like the possum at situations in life that terrified me, stole my hope, and caused despair. You may have done the same. Although anxiety and despair can steal your strength, joy, and hope, God can renew it. He is willing to reach down and revive us, even when we can’t take another step.
(Isaiah 40:31) But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.