Garden Creatures, Mississippi Style

Artwork of possum and flowers in Jackson MS

2020 was a year we’ll remember for the worst reasons, but there were a few highlights. I learned, for example, what this was.

The artwork was covering a window or gap in an alley in Jackson, MS. I immediately took a shine to it because of the fierce creature’s eyes, the flowers and the (almost) heart shaped nose. But I had no idea what it was – it could have been imaginary for all I knew. We don’t have opossums in England. The nearest I could think of was an alternative badger with a tail and a decidedly uppity expression.

After my sweetheart rescued an orphaned baby ‘possum, Pogo, I found out a lot more about these quiet marsupials. Babies live in their mother’s pouch, emerging to ride precariously on her back, slipping and sliding with their siblings as she wanders patiently around. The white patches on their cute little ears seem to shrink as they grow older. Their back feet have opposing thumbs that, together with their prehensile tail, help them grip and balance as they climb.

‘Possums have the best snarl ever (and unleash it at the slightest provocation) but seem surprisingly gentle when push comes to shove.

Small possum snuggled in jeans
Pogo possum

My sweetheart kindly let me have a picture of a pocket-sized Pogo soon after he arrived. He had little fur back then, but had grown a thick coat by the time he was ready to fend for himself.

Some people aren’t keen on ‘possums, and I don’t think Mama would have approved, but they are efficient urban foragers, so are some of nature’s recyclers. I will admit that they are very noisy eaters, smacking their mouths in cheerful relish.

Pogo grew up healthy, stayed wild, and was released into the garden many months ago. His cage was left for him to sleep in if he’d wanted it, but he spurned the offer.

My sweetheart sometimes glimpses a ‘possum on his evening walk. He says it’s probably not Pogo as there are several in the neighbourhood, but I like to think it is.

Shared for Becky’s SquareUp. I searched online to find out more about the artist of the artwork who has signed SML (or MLS) but couldn’t find anything to link to.

29 Replies to “Garden Creatures, Mississippi Style”

  1. We have ’em in Texas. They are nocturnal, so rarely seen. Interesting creatures. Glad Pogo is doing so well. (I assume sweetheart explained the origin of his name. (Hint: one of the most brilliant comic strips of all time.)

  2. I’ve never seen a young one. Pogo is the sweetest thing ever. I do have one that visits my bird feeders regularly. Once it figured out I wasn’t going to take away the goodies, it stopped snarling, and I was able to get some photos. It usually comes at night, and I only see the evidence of its visits in the morning, but now and then it comes by in the daytime. One of our native shrubs, Ilex decidua, is called Possumhaw. The “haw” part of its name comes from the reddish fruits that can be mistaken for hawthorn fruits, and “possum” became part of its name because possums adore the fruit.

    1. There is a clip on YouTube of a mother possum with some babies that a lady found hiding in her wardrobe. Good to know about the Possumhaw. I have heard of it but didn’t know the story.

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