So possums actually do "play possum"

BuffcoBuffco Senior MemberPosts: 6,244 Senior Member
Always heard of it but never seen it until tonight. Found this feller while feeding up, and at first i thought it was one of my new piglets that had gotten out. Got closer and saw what I thought was a dead possum.

He was flat on his stomach, eyes cracked open, but I could detect not breathing or pupil response to light or being poked.

Felt his body and he was warm. I always thought they just pretended, but a quick Google search says they actually go comatose due to shock. He was half grown, maybe 5 lbs. Anyway, he's going to wake up with a bad, bad headache.

7e3c5283b92a6ee7aeb5228bccd38479.jpg

Replies

  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    They don't when they're hiding under an old upsidedown boat thats just been kicked over. They run. Not real great runners though.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • Farm Boy DeuceFarm Boy Deuce Senior Member Posts: 6,083 Senior Member
    I wish the last one I had a run in with had done that. He would have woken up and found himself dead.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
    Dad 5-31-13
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    That's what this one is going to do. Wake up dead.

    Yeah I've always had them run. Or actually, quickly shuffle away. Never seen one actually play possum.
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    early wrote: »
    They don't when they're hiding under an old upsidedown boat thats just been kicked over. They run. Not real great runners though.
    That sounds awfully specific. Almost like it's a personal story
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,999 Senior Member
    Sometimes they fight and sometimes they play possum--- saw it often enough when a dog gets them.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    That sounds awfully specific. Almost like it's a personal story

    Yep, where I grew up in Michigan they lived right in town. Almost as many as the squirrels. They can also get a might testy when cornered. Seen one stand off a dog once.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • NCFUBARNCFUBAR Senior Member Posts: 4,324 Senior Member
    I have a freakin' family of those that come up on the patio to eat the dog and cat food. Most of the time I kick the crap out off them, pick 'em up by the tail and toss 'me in an old bucket to give to an old guy who "likes" them ...
    “The further a society drifts from truth ... the more it will hate those who speak it."
    - George Orwell
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Eat More Possum!
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Farm Boy DeuceFarm Boy Deuce Senior Member Posts: 6,083 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    That's what this one is going to do. Wake up dead.

    Yeah I've always had them run. Or actually, quickly shuffle away. Never seen one actually play possum.

    I have seen ONE play possum. That was years ago and he too woke up dead.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
    Dad 5-31-13
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,999 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Eat More Possum!

    Just too much trouble!

    You gotta keep them in a cage and feed them bread for a month or so to clean them out.

    You ever skin one? Just greasy as all get out and smelly. You can't wash it off your hands for a month of Sundays.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,999 Senior Member
    Possums have 50 teeth and can bite you good.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 7,747 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    Always heard of it but never seen it until tonight. Found this feller while feeding up, and at first i thought it was one of my new piglets that had gotten out. Got closer and saw what I thought was a dead possum.

    He was flat on his stomach, eyes cracked open, but I could detect not breathing or pupil response to light or being poked.

    Felt his body and he was warm. I always thought they just pretended, but a quick Google search says they actually go comatose due to shock. He was half grown, maybe 5 lbs. Anyway, he's going to wake up with a bad, bad headache.

    7e3c5283b92a6ee7aeb5228bccd38479.jpg

    Hmmmmm Fur on the ground and what looks like fur on the end of your shoe................

    Buffy kicked a possum!!!!!!!!!!
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    More like, prodded him... Saying, "Hey stupid, are you dead?"
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,520 Senior Member
    Dude...you 'felt his side'?!? No need to check, it's either dead or soon going to be. You must be nucking futz! :silly::roll2:
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    It was for science. I wanted to see if he was really playing or if he had just died, right there.

    Like I said I always assumed they just pretended, didn't realize it was actually a physiological thing.
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,395 Senior Member
    They make wonderful pets. You can teach them many cute tricks. They'll hold still while you place a cracker on their nose and won't move or blink until you tell them it's time. Then, when they're eating the cracker, you can shoot them in the back of the head.
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,222 Senior Member
    When they come in the yard I help them play dead with whatever rifle, pistol, shotgun is the handiest at the moment. Then I put them on the side of the road a little North of the house. Buzzards got to eat, same as worms.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Our dog caught one out in front of the barn one afternoon and mauled it a little, and it played dead. Mary decided she didn't want it stinking up the yard, so she poked it a few times with a shovel to make sure it was dead, then she managed to scoop it up after several attempts so she could throw it over the fence into the neighbor's pasture for the scavengers to clean up. Mid-flight from the shovel catapult, it decided it really didn't like taking flying lessons and woke up. It dropped into the water runoff next to the fence, and took off up the hill. Every few steps, it would stop, shake some water off a leg, look back and hiss- - - - -repeated until it was out of sight! Yes, "playing possum" is a real thing!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    Buffy, 'scuse me, but I find it hard to believe that a South Georgia Country Boy, born and reared on the farm, didn't know for real that a possum WOULD "play possum"! Open yo' eyes, boy!
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    Buffy, 'scuse me, but I find it hard to believe that a South Georgia Country Boy, born and reared on the farm, didn't know for real that a possum WOULD "play possum"! Open yo' eyes, boy!
    No I knew they would. I might not have been clear. What I was unaware of was that it was actually a physiological reaction rather than a conscious action to "pretend".

    And I had just never seen one do it. I've chased many a possum off of the porch after dog food or away from the chicken coop, and they all lit off like their tails were on fire.
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,520 Senior Member
    Any that I've had the displeasure of ruining across left out the 'playing' and went straight to grinning and hissing. Oh, and occasionally bleeding and dying.
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,734 Senior Member
    They don't play dead if you hit them CM at close range with a 12 gauge. They will play dead if you hit them a glancing blow with a 22LR.

    They turn into a spitting screaming long-toothed wild beast if you step on them unexpectedly. They also leave behind a steaming squirt of greasy smelly stuff if you do step on them. Take a fools advice...it's not fun if you're barefoot.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 11,103 Senior Member
    Linefinder wrote: »
    They don't play dead if you hit them CM at close range with a 12 gauge. They will play dead if you hit them a glancing blow with a 22LR.

    They turn into a spitting screaming long-toothed wild beast if you step on them unexpectedly. They also leave behind a steaming squirt of greasy smelly stuff if you do step on them. Take a fools advice...it's not fun if you're barefoot.

    Mike

    Can we expect a re-telling of a story about a prairie dog hunter and his bucket soon?:jester:
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,765 Senior Member
    Don't assume that the grinning/hissing is a show. I knew a guy who kicked one to make it sull, then picked it up by the scruff of the neck. It came 'un-sulled' and ripped his arm from wrist to elbow - couple hundred stitches and overnight for observation.
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