Playing Possum

possum blog done

There are those in the world who detest squirrels and everything about them… but even the most ardent squirrelophobe can be broken down to admit they are quite cute creatures.  Raccoons?  Too cute!  Skunks may make you wish you were born without an olfactory nerve, but they’re adorable little critters as well.  But not all of nature’s pesky little scavengers were so blessed with the natural cute gene…..

Anybody got a toothpick to remove the decaying roadkill from between my teeth?

Anybody got a toothpick to remove the decaying roadkill from between my teeth?

You rarely ever hear anybody say that a possum looks cute.  Quite the opposite, in fact, you will often hear that they are butt ugly.  I’ll admit that possums are an acquired taste (and I don’t mean that literally, blech!), but when I look at a picture of the guys, I must be seeing something totally different than everyone else.  The little rapscallions have a certain charm all their own, and I daresay I find them to be cute….

We're cuter than a box full of possums!!!

We’re cuter than a box full of possums!!!

Naturally, my blog centers around the magnificent squirrel, and I did previous tributes to my affection for the raccoon and the skunk.  But I haven’t yet devoted a post to the quirky uniqueness of the possum, a critter who I have only ever created one character for, but damn was he an instant winner.

Wait'll they get a load of me!

Wait’ll they get a load of me!

Buster is a character who was many years in the making, but when he finally busted out, he came into his own in a hurry.  One could argue he may even be more popular than ES himself, and he was certainly an excellent addition to my animal ensemble.  Buster’s roots lie in an adventure with an invading possum my friend Holly experienced back in the summer of 2008.  The image above came from a birthday card I made for her in May 2011.  It was the first time I ever drew the then-unnamed possum as an anthro character.  But he had yet to cross over into my avatars I drew for my forum, which is where stars are made.  Then, a bizarre and daring act of theft that would make a possum proud occurred at my store one night in July 2011, and it set the wheels in motion for Buster’s big breakout.

Stop, you thieving possum!

I’m just borrowing this until Food Network’s roadkill marathon is over!

Buster’s first true avatar appearance, and first appearance of any kind as “Buster Possum”, was in the above drawing, which was inspired by some guy (who we think had to be one of the construction workers doing the remodel we had going on at the time) who snuck into our store while we were all on lunch break at 2:30 in the morning, went all the way to the other side of the store to the Electronics department to steal a big screen TV, and pushed it over a football field’s length back across the store to his car and made a clean getaway before he was finally spotted driving like a bat out of hell off the parking lot.  I couldn’t come up with a good ready character to portray the thief, so I fell back on the design of Buster I drew for Holly’s card.  He was an instant hit, and the rest is history….

Don't get too full of yourself there, big boy.

Don’t get too full of yourself there, big boy.

But enough about Buster… this post is about the species he represents out there!  On with the real possums, and real possum facts!

Can't read my, can't read my, no you can't read my possum face!

Can’t read my, can’t read my, no you can’t read my possum face!

While we call the critters possums, they are actually opossums.  They are marsupials, like kangaroos, and the only species of marsupial common to North America.  The most common opossum variety found in America, and the one most of us know and love to dislike, is the Virginia opossum.  Buster is a Virginia opossum.

Not to be confused with a virgin opossum.

Not to be confused with a virgin opossum.

An opossum will eat just about anything, which is why you will often find them foraging around in your garbage at night.  This includes the decaying meat from dead animals, and they particularly love roadkill, which is ironic since this is why you see so many possums squished on roadways across the country.  They are born very young and spend their first few months inside mother’s pouch.  They also age very quickly, and their lifespan rarely exceeds four years… and it’s kind of sad to think that the real-life possum who inspired Buster four and a half years ago is almost certainly no longer with us.

Possums are probably best known for “playing possum”

I'll bet you think this post is about you....

I’ll bet you think this post is about you….

According to that fountain of common knowledge Wikipedia, a possum just doesn’t “play possum” as an intentional reaction to deter what it perceives as a threat.  They actually do it involuntarily, just as we might faint in such a situation.  The possum will actually stay out cold for an hour or more upon doing this.  And while they do also make a hissing sound when they sense danger, this commercial is still full of crap, though I do admit that it’s both funny and cute…

Want to know the most interesting possum fact of them all?  The males have a forked penis!!!

HEY!!!  Watch it!  Can't you see I have children here!?!?

HEY!!! Watch it! Can’t you see I have children here!?!?

So now we know why Buster is such a hit with the ladies!  And since it’s impossible to top that fact, I shall just stop now while you bask in the glory and the awesomeness that is the opossum!

Ummmm, I think this possum is broken.

Ummmm, I think this possum is broken.

About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in Squirrel Droppings and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Playing Possum

  1. Juliette says:

    I think they are cute as all get out! Love those possums!

  2. Pingback: Playing Possum « West Coast Review

  3. fransiweinstein says:

    More fun than speaking with a forked tongue, for sure.

  4. psychofab says:

    I know that commercial is stupid but it makes me laugh every single time. Something about the father’s nonchalance about his kids’ terror.

  5. Your Royal PITA says:

    I love possums! And since I live in Virginia I guess my visitors are Buster’s relatives. Rain Man texted me last week when he saw a fat possum crossing the road when he was headed towards his bus stop–one of the few good things about having to leave for school so damned early, I guess…

    • I’ve still only seen the one on a security camera at work… but it’s funny, because he’s well known with our maintenance people, and he supposedly has as big of a Pepsi habit as I do!

  6. mskatykins says:

    First off, I love the background on that top pic, I want to say it’s like a rainbow effect, but that sounds ridiculous when there’s just two colours in use! 😉

    Great post, dead interesting. I think opossums sound cool. If I were an animal, I think I’d like to be a marsupial, in fact I often comment that I feel like one when I wear hoodies with those front pockets (Yes, Evil Squirrel, I know it’s not the same thing…). I still think opossums look kind of scary. 😦 But great, great snapshots! 🙂

    • I have fallen in love with Photoshop’s gradient coloring tool, and use it in almost everything I color there now… I coulda did a rainbow! A rainbow possum woulda been a real treat to see….

      I wear a hoodie about 8 months out of the year, so I’m an honorary marsupial as well! The non-drawn pics of course are just stuff I found on Google, but I picked out the best possum pics I could find!

      • mskatykins says:

        Lol, love it! 🙂

        Is photoshop easy to use? I have never dabbled in it… although I really should. I just figure that I spend too much time doing other stuff (when I should be doing yet more stuff… lol). I should give it a go. 🙂

        Woohoo for honourary marsupials! 🙂

      • Photoshop is pretty daunting at first (especially when you’ve exclusively used the much simpler MS Paint), but it can do some amazing things once you figure them out and get in the habit of using them. I’m still learning tricks I didn’t know before that make my comics faster to color and come our better. When I got it last Fall, Adobe allowed me to sample it for 30 days before committing to buy… and then gave me a nice deal when I did finally purchase it ($60 when they were normally selling the program for around $100).

  7. Kim says:

    I had a wee baby possum on top of the baby fryer on the patio one night. His ears were translucent! He was adorable. His sibling was sleeping in rags attached to a broom in the garage. We liberated them.

  8. gentlestitches says:

    We have possums here too which are protected and totally sweet. We live next to Merri Creek which is home to many possums and other creatures. A lot of our critters have the forked business except for the Echidna which has a (wait for it) double fork!! Not to be vulgar or competitive or anything but it is interesting!

  9. So sorry but when I look at those photos of the possums, I can’t help noticing that every single one of those “cute” critters has its mouth open and showing me its sharp pointy teeth!

  10. psquirrel says:

    Thanks for the killer possum post. I liked all the good possum facts- but I think my favourite was the “box of possums” picture. Who wouldn’t want a box of possums? =)

  11. vengeance4 says:

    That was a very cute dog. I like dogs. Dogs are adorable. That was an adorable dog! Was his tongue sticking out? That was a really cute dog!!!! Oh, yeah, the O–possum was alright too. :O

  12. dogfordavid says:

    great post and interesting facts 🙂 I adore the possums in the box picture too. So adorable : ) Fun to find out how Buster got his start too. Thanks for sharing this. : )

  13. Pingback: Out of the box . . . « The Pensive Squirrel

  14. pishnguyen says:

    That commercial cracks me up every time. I’m with you on liking possums, though. I think they are cute, just not in a traditional, warm-and-fuzzy way.

  15. st sahm says:

    “Since it is impossible to top that fact” LULZ

  16. I actually think they are pretty cute in their way

  17. shannon says:

    Where can I buy a baby possum? Raise him from a baby age to be friendly?

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