Wednesday, January 25, 2012
When alarmed a Possum does not always play dead. The behavior is apparently a physiological reaction, similar to fainting in our own species. And when 'playing dead,' a Possum will produce a smell that mimics diseased or rotten flesh. As well, Possums are apparently able to produce sounds. They can 'hiss' and 'squawk'. Their children, when lost, 'sneeze'. Males, when attempting seduction, make a clicking 'smack' noise which, I am told, they produce from the side of the mouth and which I recognize as a tactic employed sometimes by young men from my own species as they wander through shopping centers or wait for buses.
But here where I live, the community of Possum must have diverged from the mainstream of Possum. Playing dead for them is I suspect considered 'wimpy,' and deliberately emitting body odors quite unnecessary unless in the course of jest or perhaps political debate. I suspect this because our Possums see time spent in a trap as a chance to properly digest, take a short nap and then, as the sun rises, tidy up a little, so as to be presentable when it's time for the often entertaining journey to the far corner of the field. And during the romantic season, I hope boy Possums here where I live, have also been told to avoid noises of any kind from the side of their mouth.