Thursday, February 7, 2013

Marsupial Madness!

Opossums are fascinating creatures that are the only marsupials on the North American continent. They illustrate the character trait of Availability. Webster's definition of Availability is: "the state of being present or ready for immediate use." The female opossums display this character trait, particularly in the care of their young.

Stay away from me until the kids are out of the pouch!
Historically, opossum were identified by Capt. John Smith in 1608. Smith coined opossum, from the Algonquian word  "opassum", a term meaning " white animal". The Captain wrote in his notes, "An Opassum hath a head like a swine & a taile like a rat & is of the bignes of a Cat.Under her belly she hath a bagge,wherein she lodgeth, carrieth, & sucketh her young."

I'm like the Old Woman in the Shoe, had so many kids, she didn't know what to do! 
As Captain of Jamestown, I named that marsupial from an Algonquian term. 
Opossums live solitary lives, apart from mating, & the mother is the primary & only caregiver! She has a short 11-13 day gestation period, before approximately 21 embryos are born & begin the climb to their mother's pouch. At birth, the embryos are 10 millimeters long & weigh .13 of a gram, which is lighter than a paper clip! They don't all survive, due to Mom only having 13 nipples. Mom is now "Available" to them 24/7 for up to 6 months!

Ewe know I'm Cute! Ewe should see me hang by my tail.
An Average litter is comprised of 8 cute & helpless babies. 
Opossums remain in the pouch for up to 2 months before hanging outside the pouch, riding on their mother's back. They begin to eat solid food at 75 days, & are fully weaned at 90-95 days. Opossums are omnivorous scavengers, eating both plants & animals. They prefer fruit, insects, & carrion. As Ewe can see, a mother's life of eating bon-bons is over once the litter arrives. She has 2 litters a year & has them literally hanging all over her for 3 months per litter! 
We have a tail that is strong enough to help us hang upside down!
Opossums have 50 teeth, which is more than any other mammal! Their face features beady black eyes, a pointed nose, & "Mickey Mouse" ears. Opossums are famous for "playing dead", when threatened, attacked, or injured. They will curl up in a ball, lips turned back, & saliva appears around their mouth. They secrete a nasty fluid from their anal glands that emits a putrid odor. This behavior is all involuntary, similar to a defense mechanism.

I sure hope this works, otherwise I'm really DEAD!
Sheep are much the same as the Opossum babies. They are born quite helpless & require constant care & Availability from their mothers & their Shepherds to insure survival! 

I'm so thankful that my Mom & my Shepherd are "available" to me!
Today, enjoy the "Availability" of ewer Good Shepherd, who's always ready to assist Ewe, no matter what the need.

"I am the vine & you are the branches. He who abides in Me, & I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." Jn. 15:5


  1. There is a special name for a tail that can grab and hang from things, and it's pretty special. Great job on this story

  2. Thanks Kurt! I'm glad Ewe liked the story! The name of the tail is a PREHENSILE tail or GRIPPING tail! God Bless Ewe & thanks for commenting!

  3. Very interesting and informative!