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be given> wrote:

As opposed to the multiple varieties of Australian possums which aren't the same thing at all as US possums.
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One would never ever try to pet a US Possum... They are mean with razor sharp teeth.
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Aussie possums probalby also have sharp teeth but I've not heard of anyone being bitten (although I'm sure it would have happened).
Friends had some significant domestic disbliss in their house with all members of the house accused of eating the best pieces of fruit from the fruit bowl before anyone else could have any with furious denials and counter accusations all round.
After some time, it turned out that the fruit bowl, which used to sit on a table just under an opened unscreened window 2 floors up (in the Aussie tropics), was visited regularly by a possum who ate the best bits.
Another friend whose lady left him and who suffered severe loneliness as a result, took to divering himself by taming a local possum mother and her baby. He took to having dessert on his back deck where he would sit eating his fruit and laying out a slice on the floor for the possum until she became so tame that she'd take it from his hand.
They are very, very cute animals until one has one in the ceiling cavity or attacking one's fruit. At that stage murder is a good option.
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LOL
When I was a kid, my grandfather had established a similar relationship with a mama raccoon and her babies at his cabin on a lake in Michigan. We'd sit on the back patio in the summer evening and offer bits of food to the family, and they'd take them from our hands, the babies learning fro their mother. Raccoon hands/paws are very interesting to touch -- leathery and dry. Excellent childhood memory. ;-)
Nowadays in my urban neighborhood, any "wild" animal that would allow one that close is suspect for rabies. A family of raccoons who were living in an abandoned house fairly near me were exterminated because one of them was rabid (which meant all could soon become rabid). I think that was the same family whose babies climbed all over the back of my house and would be deterred by nothing short of my doing my "mean schoolmarm" impression out of a second floor window. While my "mad cat" noises brought no interest from them, that impression of a strict lady in corset and shoes which are too tight who was referring to them as "young man!" scared the bejeezus out of them and sent them hightailing out of my yard.
Saw one possum once, but he was in sad shape, having apparently been attacked by another animal. Similarly we have no skunks now, although we did when I bought my house in 1998.
Priscilla
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Unfortunately, rabies isn't the only game in town. <http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-27261--,00.ht ml>
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In article

It was over 50 years ago we fed those raccoons, and I'm now on the east coast and not in Michigan, so this doesn't scare me any.
Priscilla
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be given> wrote:

It sounds wonderful.

Having Rabies aaround would certainly put a damper on having any up close and personal dealings with wildlife.

US possums are very different to those of Australia. US ones always make me think of sticky beaks with those pointy little noses. I don't mean that in a critical way, just that they look like they should be the gossips of the animal kingdom.
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FarmI wrote:

They must have a vast time of separate evolution.

In the US the eastern opossums have a less pointy nose than the western species. Check out the picture on wikipedia of a Virginia one.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opossum
The ones in California have a very pointed nose as you describe.
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FarmI wrote:

Exactly. Possums of various sorts are on multiple continents. Other marsupials generally not.
Was the wombat eating stuff in your garden or did you get to it in time and relocate it? Being herbivores I would think you don't want any in your garden. I figure they are not as voracious as rabbits but they just might taste somewhat like rabiit. No clue if they are rare enough to be protected.
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Doug Freyburger wrote:

One can try to distinguish some types by calling them opossums.

Quite so. Other than what they may eat you could be inflicted with one wanting to dig a home. Imagine a 5 year old boy at the controls of a bulldozer.....
I figure they are not as voracious as rabbits

They are much bigger than rabbits but don't occur in such large numbers. All native fauna is protected by law regrdless of rarity.
D
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wrote:

They are built like brick outhouses and would weigh as much as a big dog. I've seen a house's foundations undermined by one or more of them because they dig huge burrows.
The wombat in our garden was just standing near a small personal access gate which leads out of our garden onto our drive which then leads down between the paddocks to the main road. My husband has a big shed down a track off the driveway where he keeps some old cars and he was going out that way to put something back in his shed. He saw the wombat and came back inside to get me so I could see it.
When he told me it was there, I doubted if it'd still be there when we got there but it was. It was facing us, but had started to dig under the gate to get out. My husband said that the digging hadn't started when he came to get me so it'd done a fair hole in the short time it took us to get there. It just stood there while I patted it on the head which amazed both of us. It even looked like it was mildly enjoying it as it lowered it's head and slightly closed it eyes and looked even more docile and dozy than they normally do.
After doing that for a time, we decided we should try to get him out the gate. I opened it but as soon as I got behind it, it didn't like that and moved off. I was going to try to grab it round it's middle from the back and lift it up and move it that way. We tried a couple of times and then it got under some bushes so we left the gate open and left it to itself. I'm fairly sure it would have been eating the grass on what we call our 'lawn' but there is nothing to stop it going anywhere in the garden except for the orchard which is also the chook run.
I'm sure they are protected but even so, I have a friend in a wildlife group who would be able to tell me how to 'relocate' or move it on if it becomes a real bother. When it comes round to spring and some growth in my vegetable patch would be the time I'd start to focus on any resident wombat if needs must.
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