Possum Opossum, Wherefore Art Thou Possum?By Aileen D
Just like you, we didn’t know that possums aren’t actually just one species. There are actually two different orders of marsupials called possums, with one being native to the Americas and the other to Australia. In fact, the Australian ones got their common name from their American relatives. Even though they are both called possums by the locals, we’ll refer to the American ones as opossums and the Australian ones as possums. (Didelphimorphia and Phalangeriformes don’t roll off the tongue as well.) They are not only different in names but also defense mechanisms, with opossums playing dead while possums make noise. Opossums are comparatively larger with coarse, thick hair, while their smaller cousins, possums, have flat, soft fur. But we’re not here to focus on those differences. Big or small, American or Aussie, both “possum” species are equally adorable. Don’t believe us? Check out these furry friends that have warmed our hearts.
Caution: Cuteness Overload
Reader beware. We wouldn’t advise you to browse through these pictures if you are inclined to grind your teeth, bite your lips or lower your defenses. Some of these pictures will make your heart beat slower, while all are guaranteed to make you go aww. Don’t say we warned you.
We have received many reports to take this picture down. How come? Redditors claim they nearly died of cuteness overload. It’s this medical phenomenon that is growing more prevalent amongst people whenever they encounter possums and opossums. It’s absolutely terrible. It might cause momentary disorientation and decreased negativity.
This Redditor’s wife complained of hearing something scratching in the attic. They didn’t have pets, and they had a wide expanse of trees in their backyard. So Reddit user “Darkest_Knight 1” thought he might take a peek upstairs. Lo, and behold, he caught this unwelcome intruder. “Hands up where I can see them!“
“Hold up, my man! I’m innocent!” This possum’s whiskers quiver. “I only need a place to crash for the coming winter. After that, swear, I’ll move out!” Of course, it’s hard to say no to a cute face like that. “Just stop making those noises, and you can spend the night here. Oh, and my wife can’t know.“
People love opossums (yes, the ones below are actually opossums) so much they have dedicated an Instagram page and made a Twitter account for them. It doesn’t look like the hype will die out soon as more and more people follow the page. Wonder why people follow these types of content?
This picture is proof enough! After seeing this friendly reminder, who wouldn’t be inclined to brush their teeth? We are. And we bet that opossum has a winning smile, too. Can we make him our mascot for every dentist’s office?
Let Me Hold That for You
This opossum has had it with its owner. Reddit user “Masta Lone” can go for days without bathing, and the funky smell is getting on this marsupial’s nerves. He tugs at his fur parent’s clothing and drags him to the bathroom. “Here. It won’t take long. I’ll even hold the showerhead for you! Now, hurry up.“
Sure, like many other pets, opossums dislike the feel of cold water drenching their fur. But look at the risk this opossum is willing to take just to rid this Redditor of his stench. “Now, don’t forget to rub! The loofah is just behind you. No. Lower. To the side. Okay, now you can rinse. Good boy!“
Do you happen to have a spare tree in your backyard? Gloria and her family need a place to crash for a couple of months. They had just been evicted from her home, and from the looks of it, Gloria was terrified for her children who were clinging to her back as they walked away.
Imgur user “vohit4rohit” acted prudently given the situation. She called the Malibu wildlife rescue to pick up Gloria and her family. She is certain that they will be able to give her the care and attention that she needs. While her babies crawl down from their mom, Gloria sighed and breathed easily.
With phones, and by extension cameras, everywhere, we always need to be ready for a surprise photo-op. Whether we’re just feeling cute or are traveling somewhere new, we take photos to remember those special moments. And our marsupial friends are not immune to this desire, either.
This little guy is clearly practicing to be a model; changing angles to let the camera see his good side. We appreciate the time he took from his busy day to let the cameraperson snap these pics. We bet this fella is on the cover of Marsupials Monthly.
Just because we have grown into adults doesn’t mean we don’t know how to play pretend. Take this Redditor, for example. He and his buddy were chilling out on a Friday night when they came across this opossum who broke into the house. Reddit user “cha dork“‘s buddy sprung into action and carried the opossum out the back door.
Before evicting the housemate, his buddy made sure to take a selfie of them both. The two were all smiles until his buddy slung the furball into the backyard and then growled. “Scram! And don’t ever come back.” The opossum got the hint and scurried away to the bushes.
Never Too Young
It seems like there’s some truth to starting early so that you can be successful. This young man was passionate about saving animals’ lives. On top of studying to become a veterinarian, he signed up to volunteer at the local vet’s office from time to time.
The day this picture was taken, he saved the life of a baby ringtail possum. He and his friends had seen the marsupial lying down on the lawn at an odd angle, and brought him to the vet. After getting his scrapes tended to, we can tell how grateful his new buddy is.
Here we have another opossum that is training to be a model. She lives with nine other companions, but we can tell that she loves to be the center of attention. Here she is auditioning for the role of the Easter bunny at the mall.
According to her fur parent, the adorable head tilt is actually due to a neurological disorder. While she may not be able to run in the wild with her other opossum friends, she has a big family that loves her no matter what!
Reddit user “Im_the_One” had good intentions when he uncovered the lid of this box in the parking lot. He had heard something scurrying about inside, and decided to take a look. He saw this baby opossum playing dead with a piece of food in her mouth. And he decided to take her to the vet’s clinic.
He didn’t know that opossums played dead when they encountered predators. It was the easiest way to get humans off of their backs. But the attempt backfired because instead of being left alone in this box, this opossum was carried away to the local vet’s clinic. At least there were more treats to nibble on there.
Got My Own
We couldn’t get that cute Easter bunny off of our minds, so we had to sneak another peek. Her name is Mushroom, and Instagram user “@juniperfoxx” has no shortage of pictures to share. Just recently, her baby opossum decided that it was time for it to move out of the family bed and into a solo suite.
At first, “@juniperfoxx” said no, but later changed her mind. To be fair, even we would probably give in to this opossum’s demands. And after seeing her excitedly bouncing about the plush towels, “@juniperfoxx” couldn’t help but smile. Of course, she took pictures. This was a memorable day.
Raised by Canines
Most would agree. Opossums and possums are very affectionate. Rarely are these critters aggressive or hostile towards humans. Even when hissing, opossums are merely bluffing to protect themselves. But this lone critter seems to have a steel spine and a resilient character. How can that be?
Well, she grew up thinking that this German Shepherd was her mom. It never occurred to her that she might never grow the same size, but the grit certainly rubbed off on her. You will see her making rounds around the perimeter of the house or listening to the faint footsteps of an unwelcome stranger.
Om Nom Nom Nom
If the previous pictures haven’t caught your heartstrings, this one might. It was Halloween, and this opossum was as eager as us to see ghouls and witches visit the house. It stood guard by the doorstep, where the pumpkins and the gourds were on display. And it took watch.
Om nom nom nom. It was only late afternoon when this critter started his shift. It was a long wait before the first visitor would go knocking on the door, or flying on a broom breezing inside the house. So it passed the time by munching on some of the gourds beside it. Tasty!
Whereas other possums have dogs or cats to deal with, these two have each other as company. Their names are Starry and Daff. While unrelated, these two have knit a close bond over Cheerios, mixed cocktail fruit, and afternoon siestas. Here is a picture of one lounging while the other stands guard.
Don’t let Daff’s size fool you. He is very protective of Starry. These two are nearly inseparable. The only instance they can be apart is when Starry is being dried after a bath, and Daff is left in the tub. Even then, they are only a meter apart. Any farther than that, and Daff might give out a shrill scream.
Smol and Sleepy
This is one special type of possum. They are found in south-eastern Australia and to date, only have a population of about 2,600 adults. How have the numbers dwindled? Their homes have been ravaged by forest fires, degradation, and change in local vegetation. They are named mountain pygmy possums.
As you guessed, these possums dwell on trees. They love to feast on berries, nectar, and pollen from eucalypts, bottlebrushes, and banksias. Sounds delish! And they help in the pollination of those plants. These fur friends can brave the harshest of climates and melt the hardest of hearts. *cue thawing*
Possums vibe well with other marsupials. Go figure, right? We thought that they would fend off their stash of food from skunks, raccoons, and rats. But this possum had even invited his mammalian friends to have dinner on the back porch. Reddit user “PlasmaReuse” had taken a picture to disprove the naysayers.
This Redditor and their family couldn’t help but giggle. Sure, the furry gang was feeding off of their fruits, but it was a rare sight to see that the humans decided to give the squad a handful of treats. “PlasmaResue” quickly opened the door, threw the treats, and then slammed the door shut. It was happy hour!
You can tell by the scratches on the walls, that many other critters live(d) here. And hearing the others cry during the night is enough to dampen your spirits. But Little Opie tries not to let it get to him. He tries to focus on the good things — those that really matter, like this bowl of treats!
He nods as the bowl is placed, as if to give Reddit user “conservative _ Hippy _” thanks. Then he places both paws on the edge of the bowl and takes a whiff. Yum! He smiles at the camera and then digs in. His positive nature is very infectious, and it pacifies all the other critters in this rehab center.
Not So Tough Now
If you thought that cats could boss everyone around, then you guessed wrong. In this household, this feline can get away with anything…unless it had anything to do with this possum. Just tonight, this possum dashed to this cat’s bowl and dug right in. The cat helplessly looks at mum as if to say, “But, Mom, he’s doing it again!“
“Do soooomething!” It purrs, then looks back at the contents of the bowl. It was slowly disappearing before its very eyes. “Mom!” Now, this feline hisses. Meanwhile, his possum brother doesn’t move an inch, except to grind the treats in its jaw and swallow them whole. Let’s hope their fur mom fetched this cat another bowl.
How We Feel After A Tantrum
This possum made rounds on the internet after it snuck its way into an office floor and chose to trash this woman’s office. Papers were turned into confetti, pens were scattered, and the trash can was turned upside down. “Oh my gosh, who had done this?” The woman put both hands on her hips and then looked around.
At least the possum looks ashamed at the mess he caused. How can we stay mad at a face like that; he clearly knows what he did was wrong and is sorry about it. While we wouldn’t reward tantrums thrown by our own kids, we just want to cuddle him and give him treats.
The Best Cheerleader
You will almost always see one like this in any crowd. Whether it be at work, and especially during high school, we are certain you encountered that massive guy with a warm heart. He was the odd one in the crowd, cheering you on, when the world seemed like it was out to get you.
“You can do this!” He makes a fist with both hands and raises them to the air. “You can do this!” He cheers with determination in his eyes. He believes in you and doesn’t care what people think of possums. All he cares about is supporting you.
Sally Watkinson planned to take her dog for a simple walk. It was a sunny day, and she decided to take the route across the park. She stopped to buy some bread, and as she was munching, she looked down on her dog to see this.
“Just what in the…” She couldn’t make out what it was until it moved. She saw an ear and then an eye. At least it wasn’t an oversized tick. She moved in closer and then saw the paws and the whiskers. How could she be bad at a hitchhiker with such a cute face?
The More, the Merrier
Reddit user “borninthe313” had a story to tell. She gathered her family and started the classic joke setup, “Now, a raccoon, an opossum, and a stray cat walk in the bar…” Everyone was all ears, but this Redditor looked at them with expectation. Finally, her sister yelled, “and then what?” This Redditor quips, “well come out back to see!“
They muttered and grumbled, but upon seeing this trio, they immediately forgot that there was a story to be told. The youngest put both palms against the glass door and then pressed her face towards it. “They’re so cuuuuute!” Oh yes, they are!
A Friend in You
What’s with the hype regarding these mammals? At first, we couldn’t tell. But now, it has become clear that we have a need for companionship. As much as we love to care for those in need, we also love it when people stay by us. There are few things better than returned affection.
Just look at this possum who is all ears at “OryxtheJimmy.” Oryx is its closest bud and most-trusted confidante. He took this possum in when he was fragile and hurt, and nursed him back to health. Now, this possum can stand on its hind legs and listen to Oryx as he tells him how his weekend went.
Close to Mum
One of the things that we love about the city is the people that live in it. You can expect a hodgepodge of cultures, food and stories that are heartily satisfying. Today, we had encountered this woman who smiled sweetly at the camera while she held her possum dearly to her chest.
The two were unaware of the stares people were giving them. It was as if this hug was all that they needed to get them through life. And it almost looks like it. We ran our hand across this possum’s back, waved goodbye, and then watch this woman turn her back and cross the road.
Quite the Drama Queen
Possums may not be able to speak human but you can bet they can communicate what they need. When this possum passed by this window, he was awestruck by the beauty of this Lego collection. He noted the colors, and the towering heights of each building, as well as the characters that manned the scene.
“Mine! All mine!” He presses both hands against the window in the vain hope that he would draw upon the Lego structures he wanted. When he saw that he couldn’t, he looked at Reddit user “pinkcloyd” as if to request that he leave the diorama on display. “That’s all I ask, pretty please.“
Meet the Bride
What’s one of the most important days in a woman’s life? It would be her marriage. Today, this possum is set to take her vows in the backyard, with squirrels as her witnesses. She made sure to get a full night’s sleep, and had handpicked her wedding gown for the special event.
We’re just kidding. This is our friend Mushroom from before. Her fur mom posted this picture on Instagram with the supportive phrase “anything is possumble.” We don’t know what we love more: the flower crown or the portmanteau. Or maybe it’s Mushroom’s sweet smile. What do you think?
Reddit user “Carl_Gordon_Jenkins” heard his dad laughing upstairs. He put his dinner bowl down and looked up the staircase. “Just what was going on?” He heard him laugh louder and heard a sharp thomp hit the ceiling. He ran up the stairs and slowly opened the door, “Dad, are you okay?” And he stares dumbfoundedly at this…
“Higher, Dad, higher!” You can make out the smile on this opossum’s face. Bobo, as they named him, was previously an unwelcome guest in their home. But after giving the furry friend a hug, this Redditor’s dad figured it was playtime. So in case any of you are wondering if opossums are friendly, then this picture ought to answer it.
Stwabewies Fo You
Australians are known for their friendly demeanor, and the same is true for the wildlife. Look at this friendly Assuie possum sharing a strawberry with the photographer. After all, what better way to make friends than to share a meal together, right?
“Want some stawbewies?” It took Reddit user “crikeyguvna” a couple of seconds to understand. “Oh, you’re offering them to me? Oh no, I couldn’t.” This Australian possum holds the strawberry even higher. “Oh no, no! You can have it!” This possum blinks a couple of times then deftly places the strawberry in its mouth. “If you say so!“
Mission Im -Possom-ble
It was 2 am, and the only sound was that of crickets chirping and occasionally a branch breaking, but that was nothing to worry about. This man ran his hand through his hair, slid his feet into his slippers and walked slowly to the kitchen. He flipped on the light and nearly suffered a heart attack at this.
Looking for an intruder, he scanned the room, and his eyes landed on the window. At first, he couldn’t make out the pair of lights he saw. Then it blinked. That was what jolted him awake. It took him some time to realize that the pair of eyes belonged to this arachnid-marsupial hybrid hanging from his kitchen window screen.
Miss You Right Back
Try as you might, but the bond between humans and animals is unbreakable, especially for those who work closely with them, like zoologists and ecologists. So we can understand why Amanda McLean posted this picture of a pygmy possum with the caption “missing my field site and all its amazing critters.”
It had been a couple of months since she had last visited the site. By now, that possum would have been an adult. “Would it still be able to recognize her, or would she still be able to recognize it?” She stares at the picture longingly. Hopefully, it’s yes, and she’ll get a warm hello on her next trip.
It seems like opossums have it all — the lush habitat, the fresh food, clean water, and free rent. But just like us, opossums need something to do to pass the time. This one likes to compose his music. His best hits include — “Can You Feel the Fur Tonight,” “Skyline Possum,” and “Possum Seems to Be the Hardest Word.”
He is well-acclaimed in the industry for having gained 35 gold and 25 platinum albums. To date, he holds the record for the world’s biggest selling single of all time. And even in his old age, he can hit those high notes with relative ease. What’s your favorite song of his?
Took Him In
Reddit user “notnexus” hasn’t been speaking to his cat for over two weeks now. He still changes the litter box and keeps him fed, but they rarely interact otherwise. Wonder why? Well, “notnexus” has trouble making ends meet with the mortgage on his house and several other priorities. The last thing he needed was to cover cat support.
Sure, he had been looking after his cat, but out of the blue, this feline decided to adopt a critter into the home. Now, “notnexus” has another mouth to feed, and that was not factored into that month’s budget. But this feline swears that he can cover child support all on his own. What do you think?
Help Yourself to Some Nuts
How do most opossums find themselves in rescue centers? Well, this human had chanced upon this critter in his backyard. He had found the marsupial sickly and injured, and he decided that it needed immediate assistance. He didn’t know how, and he didn’t feel safe to intervene, so he sat by the side until the rescue crew came.
Now, that sickly opossum had grown into a healthy adult. He even has a job, working as an opossum ambassador, showing the world that there’s nothing to be afraid of from these cuties. And he’s doing a great job, smiling at us while crunching on a tasty treat.
Gotta Catch Em All
There are all sorts of critters in this Australian Veterinary Clinic. You can find dogs, bats, octopuses, and even this rare golden possum being rehabilitated to full health. Obviously, the clinic is only interested in helping the animals; it’s hard not to imagine them collecting critters like this one as one would with trading cards.
Gotta catch ’em all, right? Folks in the Boronia Vet Clinic and Animal Hospital have called this rare possum Pikachu. And while it may not have the pink cheeks or the horizontal brown stripes, it has the same yellow fur, small mouth, and long, pointed ears as the critter. Do you think it can conduct electricity, too?
Definitely Worth It
Vets undoubtedly have a hard job. First of all, your clients can’t vocalize their needs. Second, you have to deal with different types of anatomy depending on the species, and lastly, the shrill most animals give out in terror can be deafening.
But once you establish rapport, caring for these critters should be smooth sailing. Reddit user “linneah15″ claims that being a wildlife rescue rehabilitator is heartbreaking work. She has seen these critters’ habitats destroyed, and unfortunately can’t save everyone. “But having tiny babies fall asleep in your hands makes it all worth it,” she shares.
The Very Highlight
Forest fires are devastating and rescuers and ecologists alike are, unfortunately, often left wondering how much wildlife was destroyed and if some species will or will not recover. After the bushfires in Australia in early 2020, the question was on everyone’s mind: what about the pygmy possums?
While investigating the damage caused by the extensive bushfires, these adorable critters were found. These rare pygmy possums rose like phoenixes from the ashes, bringing hope that we would someday see more of them. We’re so grateful for whoever posted this picture; those little smiles melt our hearts!
Be Careful With My Tail
Don’t you hate having to accommodate unwelcome guests in your house? It would be a load easier if they announced their arrival beforehand so you can prepare them a meal or something. But that hadn’t been the case when this Reddit user came across this baby opossum. For once, he was grateful for an untimely visit from an intruder.
Just look at it clutch its tail as if it was its most prized possession. This Redditor scratches the baby opossum’s tummy and then offers him a treat. “Go on. It’s safe to eat.” He picks one up and pretends to munch on it. The baby opossum gets the message and then clasps the treat with both hands.
Out of My Way
Reddit user “iTokki” heard a distinct sound coming from nearby. He turned to look and saw nothing. He listened intently. “Just what was that.” Out of the blue, this gang walked out from a shrub — the baby opossums were shrieking out excitedly. We’re just glad that this Redditor was shaken from their surprise in time to snap a pic.
These baby opossums are excited about the trip they’re on. They hold on frantically at their mom’s fur, struggling to keep their tails off the ground. Meanwhile, their mom tries to balance the load of her children (who are only hanging on one side) with sheer will. You go, momma!
Can’t Use It
Poor “dsfenasni” can’t evict the family of possums living in his house; they snuck themselves in between his window and the screen. He either ran the risk of letting him in his room, or letting them stay for as long as he wanted. On the bright side, at least he had someone to keep him company.
It was just weird. He couldn’t do the things he would normally do in private when he knew there was a family right above him. Now he has to stick to PG movies and hope that they don’t judge him for indulging himself with chocolate as a midnight snack.
Australian pygmy possums enter hibernation periods when temperatures dip below 12 degrees celsius. They fall into deep sleep for weeks at a time, without food or water. When they aren’t catching up on their beauty sleep, you will see them out in the wild, feeding on nectar, insects, spiders, and at times, humans.
The Australian Western Pygmy is one of the largest pygmy possums in the world, but you’d never guess it by this baby. But, you can sense a giant in there by how this pygmy is biting into this human. Not to worry, it’s just holding on tightly while Chris Jolly takes a walk through the meadow.
Tell Me A Bedtime Story
How do you put your kids to sleep? Instagram user @itsmesesame swears by this routine — he gives them a warm bath, dries them, clothes them in pajamas, turns up the AC and then has them choose a book he will read for the evening. “Ooh, ooh, tell me about Rapunzel and how she let down her hair!“
It didn’t matter if this possum was tired. She would wait until her dad finished the story and kissed her goodnight until she went to sleep. It was only then that she could dream of Rapunzel with her golden hair. This possum couldn’t wait for the next bedtime story.
This is Hank
Reddit user “damndirtycracker” visits his maternal aunt every week. He brings her fresh produce, canned goods, the newspaper, and even some ice cream. He also checks up on Hank. Hank, the possum, was adopted by his aunt when she saw that he had trouble walking.
She set up a home for him by propping up a cardboard box and then laying some sheets inside. She makes sure to fill his dish with water and open the garage door so he can scurry in the backyard for nuts, fruits or insects. When his arthritis hits, she makes sure to bring the food to him.
Deckster and Backster
Deckster, the possum, has been to this Redditor’s house a couple of times now. He knows the homeowner is friendly and that he can pick berries from the shrubs whenever he wants to. He tries not to take more than he needs. But tonight, he thought of bringing along his friend, who had smelled the berries off him.
“Just promise me, you’ll stay on my back no matter what. This person has been really kind, and I don’t want you to mess this friendship up.” Backster’s whiskers twitch. “Alright, hop on then.” The two make the short trip to the man’s backyard and help themselves to a slice of apple and some nuts. “Thanks man, you’re the best!“
The New Pose
This possum is making rounds on the internet for striking this pose. Celebrities, influencers, and moguls are imitating it. It only works well for some, and you could be the butt of a joke if you posed wrong, but all the same, people copy the look. Simply put your tongue out, then say “bleh.”
This possum knows that it is important to have a little fun in your day. He poses for the camera and then draws his tongue back and whips his tail around. Then he scrambles down the cage and climbs the wheel, where he runs out his energy for an hour and a half!
Remember our friend Pikachu from Australian Veterinary Clinic? While this possum might not be as striking in color, he’s also a golden brushtail possum. The name and color come from a genetic mutation wherein low levels of melanin in their fur give them a lighter coat, compared to other possums.
Unfortunately, the same rarity that makes them so cute also makes them a target for predators. While they may sell for a thousand dollars apiece, these unique beauties should be left in the wild or in animal conservatories or similarly protected areas.