I don’t know if our backyard has become a breeding ground for opossums or what.
A couple months ago, we found a baby opossum in the chicken coop. We think he’s an orphan, as we’ve seen him a few more times foraging alone at night. We’ve seen a handful of adult opossums as well, and though we’re never sure if they’re the same ones, at least one or two have taken up residence in our yard and up our tree. And it seems those opossums have been gettin’ busy.
Last week, we set out our Havahart traps to catch a couple of destructive squirrels we’ve been seeing around the garden. Right away, we caught an opossum and released him that night. We reset the trap… and yesterday, we saw that we’d caught another critter.
But upon closer inspection, we found another opossum in the trap… and not just one opossum, but a mama opossum with seven of her babies!
The babies must have been clinging to her back while she was roaming the yard, and they’d all become trapped together when she went sniffing for our treats. Or had they all been nestling inside her pouch? (Opossums are the only marsupials in North America; I was intrigued by this fact and found this fascinating photo of ‘possum pups in their mother’s pouch.)
Each baby was about 5 inches long from nose to rump, with tiny pink noses and tiny pink hands, and tender little ears and tails. They were the most adorable things I’d ever seen… I almost wanted to keep them as pets!
All seven babies were piled on top of each other, clinging tightly to their mama or their siblings, yawning and squirming and sleeping. Such precious little things.
These two siblings were especially sweet.
We gave them a small bowl of water and covered the cage with a towel to keep them calm. That night, we released the family in a nearby nature reserve. Since it’s still mating season for the opossum, I wonder how many more babies we’ll see this summer (and hopefully, not in our traps).