It’s no secret that I love opossums. I would do anything to have one as a pet. If I could wake up and be holding an opossum’s little toes, I would never have any problems for the rest of my life. I seriously am obsessed with those little guys. Every day I dream about coming home to an opossum and kissing its little forehead and petting its soft fur. I fantasize about finding an opossum on the side of the road and getting to hold it on my lap while I drive it to the vet. I just want to love on an opossum.
If I had an opossum, I would spoil it so much. I would give it little hats and feed it all the food it wanted. Any opossum that lived with me would live the best life ever. I would give my opossums cuddles every day and take them on walks so they stay healthy. Seriously, just give me a chance to have one of those little guys. I would take amazing care of them. I think I deserve a pet opossum.
I’m a big animal person. When I’m an adult, I’m probably going to have a ton of pets that I either own or am fostering. Here are some of the pets I want the most.
A cat (hairless or otherwise)
I’m allergic to cats, so if I get a cat in the next few years, it’ll probably have to be a hairless cat or a cat with hypoallergenic hair. I recently started allergy shots, but it’ll take a few years before I get to a point where I can actually have a non-hypoallergenic cat without problems. In the meantime, I’ll keep feeding my neighborhood cat so that my house is his favorite house on the block.
I have one dog right now, but I want to have a lot more in the future. I really like bigger dogs like retrievers and shepherds, so I’d love to have a few when I have my own house. Small dogs are super cute too, though. Honestly, I love all dogs.
This one shouldn’t be a surprise. I wouldn’t keep them as pets, but I would like to care for disabled opossums that can’t live in the wild. Besides, opossums actually live longer in captivity than they do in the wild. I’ll give them fun outfits.
Rats are really cute, and they actually make pretty good pets. They usually have to live in bigger groups so they don’t get lonely, so I’ll have a rat colony. They don’t live super long, which is really sad, but I still want to give them good lives.
My best friend has leopard geckos and crested geckos, and I’m in love with them. Most lizards actually live for a really long time– leopard geckos live about 15 years and crested geckos can live 15-20 years. They also have pretty dynamic personalities. Some of my friend’s lizards like to be left alone in their enclosures, and some like to be held and played with. I think they would make for really fun pets.
Honestly, I could keep going on about the pets I want, but I’ll probably have my hands completely full if I end up getting all of these animals.
I really, really love opossums. They’re smart, unique, friendly, and adorable. Here’s some cool facts about them.
They are the only marsupial that isn’t native to Australia.
Opossums are marsupials, which means they’re a subspecies of mammal that carry their embryo out to term in a pouch on their belly. The most commonly known marsupial is probably the kangaroo. Opossums aren’t much like kangaroos, but they also carry their joeys – a litter of which can contain up to 20 babies – in a pouch and then on their back until the joeys are ready to live by themselves.
There are several species of opossums, all of which are native to the Americas. They range all the way from South America to Canada.
They have opposable thumbs.
Much like apes, humans, raccoons, and some other species of animals, opossums have opposable thumbs. This means they have a fifth finger on the side of their paw that allows them to grasp objects and handle them in a way most that other animals can’t. Opossums usually don’t use this advantage for evil, though. Raccoons, on the other hand (pun not intended), will use their opposable thumbs to get into storage bins, to open trash cans, to unscrew lids of containers, to open doors, and other nefarious things. Opossums are much kinder than raccoons. Plus, it’s unbelievable cute when they hold things in their tiny hands.
They have prehensile tails.
Prehensile tails are a trademark feature of monkeys, but opossums have them too. They use their tails to hold onto thin surfaces better, to climb, to hang from branches, and to balance them as they walk. Their tails look a lot like the tails of rats, but there are muscles in their tails that allow them to use them much better than rats can. I, personally, think that their crusty, scaly tails are super cute.
They are omnivores, but don’t hunt mammals(except for mice).
Opossums are omnivores, which means they eat meat and plants. However, unlike most meat-eating animals, they don’t hunt almost any live mammals as their prey. Opossums usually scavenge food from unlocked dumpsters, left out pet food, or road kill. The only live prey that they consume are worms, bugs, mice, and sometimes smaller birds or snakes. If they are really starving, they might go after a larger target like a chicken, but this is very uncommon.
They “play dead.”
“Playing possum” is a popular expression for pretending to be dead or asleep. Opossums have an flight instinct that causes them to fall to the ground, loll their tongue, un-focus their eyes, and pretend to have died when confronted by predators that they can’t easily escape. They won’t get up even if they’re jostled around. It’s pretty cute. To humans, it just looks like the opossum is having the best nap of its life.
They like to play dress-up.
This fact isn’t scientifically verified, but look at these guys! They sure do look like they’re having fun. They look adorable, too. So stylish.
They make funny faces.
Sometimes opossums look like they just tripped and fell in front of the popular kids and the popular kids all saw their Paw Patrol lunchbox fall out of their backpack. It’s like my favorite thing. Look at this little guy.
All in all, opossums are pretty cool little animals. If you see one near your house, don’t bother it or hurt it. They’re non-threatening creatures and it’s just living its life. If you can legally rehabilitate opossums or care for disabled ones as pets, definitely do. They’re sweet little guys. I love them so much.
Here is a list of animals and my opinion on if I can beat them in a fight.
I want to preface this by saying that I love animals and in no way want to actually fight any of these animals. I’m just bored and was running through hypotheticals.
These are not fights to the death. Imagine UFC with animals so it’s basically until the ref steps in because one party is losing so badly or until one party quits.
80:20 w/l odds
If the sheep doesn’t have horns I think I got it beat. While the hoove kicks would hurt and ramming would hurt, I am definitely mobile enough to juke the shit out of a sheep. Also, I feel like if I was wearing some nice boots I could deliver a swift face kick to the sheep. I have no clue how resilient sheep are, but if the boot doesn’t work I feel like I could choke it out Nate Diaz mode.
A crazy ass Iguana
25:75 w/l odds
I preface this with crazy ass to let everyone know that this is no regular iguana. I’m talking about a crazy, wily iguana that scurries all around like a freak. I do not have the speed to deal with an iguana. The boots wouldn’t help me, I bet it would scurry up my legs and bite me in the hamstring or the back of the knee or something crazy. Iguanas are like bigger scaly squirrels with teeth so I feel like I would get dissected. Their claws also scare me.
A gang of Mini Chihuahuas
50:50 w/l odds
The only dogs I dislike are chihuahuas, but only the mean ones with the big heads and beady eyes that just scurry around. I would be so chill with a nice chihuahua but the mean ones just have a flip switched. They go full bagel boss guy compensating for their size. If a pack of those guys are coming at me I don’t know what would happen. If I am wearing shorts and sandals I’m a goner. If I was wearing pants and boots I think I could win with some sort of Irish Jig maneuver to deal with them. Their plan of attack would be yap and nip until I am overwhelmed and just quit.
Soft Shell Turtle
Win but it would take me a long time.
75:25 w/l odds
Soft shell turtles really gross me out. Why do they have a shell if it’s all soft and gross? Also, why do their heads extend so much. Super gross all around. I think I could definitely beat the shit out of a soft shell turtle, but the question is, would I want to come close enough to one to be able to fight it? I think not. To put it bluntly, their head looks like a deformed penis, and the fact that it retracts and extends really grosses me out. Their claws couldn’t do any real damage but they still scare me. There’s no way one of these things could beat me up, but if there was one in my bathroom or something, I’d definitely freak the fuck out, cower in the corner for 30 mins, then maybe remove it or maybe make my mom do it for me. The thing about these guys is they’re either super cute or really gross.
I am terrified of cockroaches. They fly, make weird crackly sounds, and are gross. If I was in a room with 100, I feel like I could only stomp on so many until the twitching and fluttering panic of these bugs would scare me. I would shut down and they would crawl into my nose and ears and I would be screaming to stop the fight. End of story.
On another note, here is a really cool video of a cockroach kicking a wasp in the face.
Her treats stay in the top drawer of my dresser, along with folded clothes. When I open the drawer, the handle bounces against the wood, making a clanging noise. Each time I hear it, she comes running in anticipation of treats.
Now comes the balance.
I worry to open the drawer for clothes, for fear of her conditioning wearing off. If she does not get treats when she hears the clanging, she may begin to unlearn her conditioned response. She will stop running to me, and I will have lost my leverage.
If I want her to come over, I open the drawer. Though, if I open it for clothes instead of treats, I feel obligated to give her what she wants. I wonder if it’s mean of me to tease her – even if I don’t mean it. She doesn’t know the difference.
I now find her trying to open the drawer herself. One day she will. And that day I will move the bag of treats. And the conditioning process will begin once more.
I present my Capstone this Wednesday. It is a culmination of my experiences in high school, and a chance to share a topic I am passionate about. For my “project,” I fostered kittens. Not only will I share my experience, but I hope to educate others on how to care for animals and why it is a community responsibility.
Fostering is vital to the life of every cat. The Humane Society is filled with kittens, yet nobody considers where those kittens were for the first eight weeks of life. Every kitten was either raised outside by their feral mom, or they were fostered by someone who sacrificed their time to raise a kitten.
Fostering kittens gave me firsthand experience with the issue of finding homes for cats. While I “foster-failed” and ended up keeping one of the kittens, I did not have room in my then five-cat household to keep another. I named her Blue, and we took her to the Humane Society where she was adopted.
I look forward to sharing my experience and enthusiasm with my school, and I hope to inspire others to foster kittens and save lives.
For Christmas my grandma gave me a turtle. Her name is Koa, and she came with a little bead bracelet and a card to track her movements in the wide ocean. I scanned her code, and my phone displayed a map of where she was released.
Her journey began on the coast of Florida as her rescuers released her into the wild. I could see she had already swam miles up the coast of the United States. She had passed Georgia territory and was nearing North Carolina.
Her little fins took her across half of the country, and halfway back. When I had previously thought about sea creatures, I had always imagined they’d stay in one area that they called home. My experience with Koa, however, has showed me that she is a true explorer of the ocean with no limits or boundaries.
I am grateful to have a connection to a living part of the ocean that I can check in on each day.
She appeared behind my house with her sister and her mother. She was the first to pop her head above the brick wall with her wide eyes looking curiously around the yard. She and her sister were beautiful. Her sister had solid white paws and defined face markings. My family and I planned on keeping her, but we had no room to keep the wide-eyed black and white kitten.
When we brought them inside, the white-pawed kitten, now named Penny, became the more confident of the two. They played together for weeks, and while we knew Penny would stay with us, the formerly unnamed black and white kitten quickly became my little baby Blue. She was shy, yet always curious of her surroundings. She turned to her sister for comfort as they kept each other company.
They had grown to be ten weeks old when Blue was ready to find her forever home. I spent the night holding her and watching them toss around toys. The sun rose sooner than I had expected and I found myself putting little Blue into a cat carrier while we said our goodbyes. Penny didn’t notice as we shut the carrier door and left their playroom.
I sat in the back seat of the car with Blue while she pressed herself against the back of the carrier. Her little body was shaking as she looked up at the passing buildings. As we pulled into the parking lot I stuck my fingers through the wired door hoping she would come to be pet. I knew I would never pet her again. I carefully picked up her carrier and handed her to the shelter staff before watching her be carried away.
I told the woman the name I had given her, and within a day my little Blue was up for adoption. I checked the website daily for updates. She looked happy and confident in the photo they posted, and within a week her adoption post had been taken down.
I watch Penny grow and imagine how big Blue must be today. I am confident that the Humane Society sent her home with a good family. I know she won’t remember her first home or her sister, but I think of her every time I look at Penny. She came to us as a scared feral kitten, and I am grateful that my family and I were able to socialize her and make her comfortable with moving into a real home.
This one will be a lot shorter than the last one I promise.
Nearly two years ago, I was camping with OVS, 15 of us out in the sandstone canyons of Utah, unspeakably peaceful. In fact, I enjoyed the tranquility of that small, isolated river valley so much, I decided to spend the night in my hammock so that I could swing as the whirling breeze carried me to sleep. However, that night was a wild one for me and you’ll soon understand why.
Around 10 o’clock I get into my hammock, laying down as I watch the moon rise over the other side of the valley, a few stranglers dragging themselves into their tents, and I decided to retire as well. Maybe three hours later if I remember it correctly, I awaken to the sound of voices coming from the kitchen area, they all seem to be laughing, having a great time, then I look at my watch and it reads one o’clock. INSTANTLY I freeze- this isn’t right, I say to myself as I peak towards the opening in my sleeping bag, the absence of light confirming my suspicions.
I try to play it off as a dream, my dream continued even after I awoke, I tell myself unconvincingly, the voices are incredibly vivid, I can hear their laughter bouncing against my eardrums, it has to be real. A few minutes pass and they begin to call my name, like the sirens that taunted Odysseus on his travels, I too was being deceived, their welcoming calls making me all the wearier. I am fully awake now.
The minutes crawl by as these voices continue, situations changing constantly, from their beckons for me to get breakfast, to claims of me missing out on a glance at a nearby fox, they become eerier. These voices, maintaining their soothing tones, vary in their distances from me, somethings being five feet away, sometimes their voices traveling for seeming leagues before reaching me. But don’t doubt my account yet, because it only gets worse. After maybe 20 minutes of the voices, I begin to feel something brushing up against my swaying hammock intermittently. This feeling of helplessness consumes me as I can only fumble for the pocket knife buried somewhere in my sleeping bag (I sleep with one while camping now after that first encounter).
My senses take over and my imagination runs wild, the voices grow stronger, and with only the light of my watch reading 2:15 to convince me of my awakened state, I can’t help but feel as if a man is standing over me, watching my hammock sway, letting it brush against him in the periodic gusts. I can’t believe what is happening to me, the winds continue, but they don’t blend with the voices, they still call me to reveal myself, to emerge from my safe place, my empty tent four feet away, but impossibly out of reach. I feel a large round object protruding from the darkness against the left side of my back, maybe a foot away from where the man must be standing, the object stabilizes me, I cannot move now.
Maybe the winds pushed me into a branch, jutting from the sickly tree holding up the feet side of my hammock, further inspection the next morning revealed that there were none near me. I am trapped in my own sleeping bag, unable to find my knife, unable to escape the voices, the man, the fear that’s overtaken me. I lay still in this sweaty hell until 3 am as I remember it, then I must drift off at some point, exhausted by the sheer terror I felt that night.
The next morning I approach my classmates, bemused as to what transcribed the previous night, upon recounting my tale, I am met with blank stares, concerned faculty, and one bright face. One teacher, my advisor, recounts a story of a man and his donkey, this man traveled into this river valley in Utah some 80 years before and was never seen from again. He suggests that this man tried to beckon me out of my hammock for a companion to wander the endless nights of these canyonlands, the voices were his attempts, the brushing was the man standing beside me, and the object jutting into my back was the donkey, standing loyal at the man’s side.
I don’t know what I believe, I don’t believe that I could ever believe that story my advisor told me, but if you ever find yourself in the desert, and you hear the voices of your compatriots, calling you into the night, take heed of my warning, but make your own choice, for if I were to return and hear them again, I may just see what the endless nights have to offer.
Also, I slept in a tent the next night, wasn’t about to lose another nights sleep to a ghost donkey.