Opossum enjoys a sunny winter day in Toronto
Opossum Enjoys a Sunny Winter Day in Toronto
Finally getting a break in the frigid winter weather, Bob and I seized the opportunity for a walk in the brilliant March sunshine at Milliken Park, in Toronto, Ontario. It seems we were not the only ones taking advantage of the warmer temperatures. An Opossum (Didelphimorphia) was out strolling atop the deep snow, on the search for something to eat.
Bob and I were coming near the end of our walk through the park when he spotted the animal on a small hill. At first, we thought it was a groundhog, but when it turned and walked in the opposite direction, the long, pointed tail gave the Opossum away.
The whole area of the park was crisscrossed with trails made by the Opossum, or perhaps several of the creatures. The telltale footprints are very distinct.
Because the intense heat of the sun had softened the top layer of snow, the Opossum’s tail had made a distinct pattern alongside the footprints every time it swung sideways and slapped the snow.
We quickly made a wide circle around the area because the Opossum already was making a beeline towards a stand of spruce trees. We were hoping to keep the opossum in sight.
This was not the first time for us to see an Opossum because late last year, a family of three Opossums visited our backyard.
We were enamoured with the Opossums because of their pink toes, ears and snouts. Although we kept an eye out for the three over the course of the last two months, neither hide nor hair was seen of any of them.
So, when we happened upon this Opossum, Bob and I were thrilled. Once it retreated to the cover of the evergreen trees, it just lay low and peaked at us through the branches.
When it disappeared beneath the tree, that is when we realized that it was taking up residence in some abandoned rabbit burrow or groundhog hole. Opossums rarely put any effort into making their own shelter, preferring to temporarily make use of those burrows left behind by other mammals.
In this mass of twigs, dirt and kite string, you can just manage to see the Opossum’s tail as it moved underground.
Bob and I scouted the surrounding area for other Opossums, all the while hoping the first one would reemerge from its den, but alas, it did not show its face again. They are nocturnal animals, but perhaps this little fellow had not been able to resist the temptation of some warm sunshine on its back. It was a pleasant March afternoon, after all.
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