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09/11/2011

Opossum Kingdom

Yesterday my neighbor stopped me as I was putting my bike into our (extremely messy, ok, kinda trashed) garage and voiced her concern over what she described as "a family of opossums" making night-time treks from the surrounding area to our property. She wrinkled her nose as she said it, like she was disgusted.

I shrugged and told her we weren't really worried about them- they didn't bother us or our cats, and there was nothing for them to eat in the garage, so we figured they would probably clear out after a while. My husband and I had caught the chubby rear of a waddling wayfarer a few nights previous as we came home in the dark- our headlights shone on the little opossum as they made their way towards our backyard where the buffet, er, compost pile was. Along with the opossum, we had also verified the existence of at least one large mouse family in the compost area, and it was a daily snack bar for myriads of sparrows and other neighborhood birds. We didn't mind- in fact, we sort of like the company of our visitors, and thought it was cool that even in the city we could provide habitat and food for so many creatures.

People seem to be so quick to freak out and try to immediately eradicate any living thing that crosses their sidewalk, without ever taking a moment to learn about them. Opossums are fascinating creatures if you look them up, along with bees and hornets, snakes, and especially spiders. Just like with creatures of the human species, a little patience and understanding can go a long way to help us all peacefully coexist.

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Anna Kaschner

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