When people hear the word possum many words probably come to mind – scavengers, creepy, dirty. – but adorable is usually not among them. Well, the Twitter page #PossumEveryHour might have changed all that, by encouraging people to share photos of their pet marsupials with the internet, and it really shows the critters in a new light. Released every hour, the photos showcase the animals, not as nocturnal trash burglars, but instead cuddled up in towels, wearing party hats, lounging in mini-beds and perched on their owners – and it may make you question everything you ever thought about them.
Possums aren’t the most loved animals, some see them as ugly, other’s hate them for their characteristics
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Possums get a really bad rap, but why? Some people like to cite the fact that they are dirty and carry rabies, but this is actually extremely rare. All mammals can get rabies but because of these animals low body temperature, it is very difficult for the virus to survive. Another complaint is that they knock over trash and spread it about – the truth is it’s the opposite. Possums are very clean and are ‘opportunistic scavengers’ who clean up after others. They not only clean up your trash but eat unwanted visitors such as cockroaches, crickets, beetles, rats, mice, and snakes. They even clean up animal remains.
Seeing the public hate on possums someone decided to start changing people’s minds one pic at a time
Despite having rat-like features, possums are marsupials – “pouched mammals” like kangaroos or koalas. They are distinct in North America because they hold the title as the only North American marsupial. In total there are over 65 species of opossums, however, the Didelphis virginiana or the Virginia opossum is the only one native to North America.
The average lifespan of this animal is only 1 to 2 years because of predators. Despite having 50 sharp looking teeth, these animals are not aggressive. We all know the famous phrase playing possum (playing dead), the response these animals have to a predator. Well, don’t give these little guys an Oscar just yet, this is an involuntary response, in which they fall into a comatose-like state and cannot control how long it lasts.
As cute as these possum pics are – the account pinned an important PSA about how these creatures shouldn’t be kept as pets
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Along with a detailed manifesto on why these creatures aren’t meant for domestication
In the possum briefing, acquired from the National Opossum Society, they explain that these animals are very high maintenance and require a very particular diet that, if not followed, can lead to metabolic bone disease, the breakdown of their internal organs or obesity. Females are very prone to urinary tract or genital tract infections. Unlike with dogs or cats, if your opossum gets sick it is very difficult to find a vet specialist who knows how to treat them. The NOS explains that even if you have the resources to say raise an orphan possum the ethical thing to do is to then release it back into the wild.
One of the members of the society even shared their heartbreaking story in the PSA to drive the point home. The contributor said they had rescued an orphan opossum, after the mom had been hit by a car, and thought she could help it using her wildlife experience. Instead, she goes on to say it was the most, “heart breaking, stressful, confusing and selfish mistakes I have made in my whole life.”
Lots of people in the comments were happy to see possums finally getting so public love
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