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. I like the artwork but positively love little Pogo, he looks so cute. I hope he’s doing well now he’s back in the wild 🙂

  2. Awwww….this is a lovely story and both possums are quite memorable. I particularly like that the baby was named Pogo; I hope it appreciated the honor.

  3. Yup; opossum. No other critter looks like that. They are supposedly as common in the overgrown landscapes of Beverly Hills and portions of adjoining Los Angeles as they are in Southeastern States, such as Florida. They eat snails, slugs and baby rats, which is good, but they also eat fruit and vegetables. They are supposed to be nocturnal, but many are not smart enough to know what that means. I dislike them, but do not mess with them either. If they take any of the fruit, they do not take much at all. I do not mind what they take in exchange for their extermination services.

  4. Pogo is adorable, and I understand they eat all kinds of things that we would consider pests, including ticks, which are a huge problem in Maine. Possums are more than welcome in my garden.

  5. They are cute in a creepy kind of way because of those teeth! I see them occasionally here, sadly mostly as roadkill, but come across their tracks as they forage around the yard. Overall, I think they are good friends and have never worried about them trashing the garden the way deer do.

    1. I think they are good friends too. They really seem gentle creatures, although they might act tough. I assume they really were dead, not just pretending?

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