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Opossums protected by state law
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ^ | Thursday, May 15, 2003 | Michael A. Fuoco

Posted on 05/15/2003 11:16:22 AM PDT by Willie Green

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:35:09 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Personnel at a Westmoreland County wildlife rehabilitation center plan to report to state game officials that an Arnold man beat an opossum to death with a shovel when it wandered into his yard on Mother's Day.

Mel Schake, information and education supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's 10-county Southwest Region, said he hadn't yet heard about the Arnold incident but, speaking generally, said people need to realize that wildlife are protected by law.


(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: critters; wildlife
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I can't quite figure out why this law is on the books.
Afterall, Pennsylvania is north of the Mason-Dixon line.
It's not as if this vermin is a staple food for the region.
1 posted on 05/15/2003 11:16:22 AM PDT by Willie Green
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To: MississippiDeltaDawg
Do you still have a photo of my "cat"?
2 posted on 05/15/2003 11:18:37 AM PDT by dighton
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To: Willie Green

It is found throughout the eastern United States except Main, west to Colorado and Texas, north to Minnesota, and south into Mexico. It is also found in Pacific coastal areas and in some parts of Arizona and New Mexico. It makes its den in hollow trees, logs, or abandoned burrows of other animals.

Usually nocturnal, the opossum feeds on a diet made up of insects, frogs, birds, eggs, snakes, earthworms and small mammals. It adds to this diet plant food such as apples, corn and persimmons when they can get them. Unfortunately for the opossum, it also has developed a taste for carrion and is often killed by cars as they try to steal a snack of recent road kill.

When a female is ready to have a litter (she can have up to three a year) she builds a nest of leaves and twigs in her den. After only 12-13 days of gestation, her tiny babies (numbering from 1 to fifteen) are born. The babies are so small, that a typical litter can fit comfortably inside a teaspoon. They immediately climb into her pouch attach themselves to a nipple inside her pouch. Those who don't find a nipple, die. Once they attach themselves to a nipple they are unable to let go for several weeks. Within a week, they will grow 1000 percent! After four weeks they will stick their heads out of the pouch and a week later be able to leave the pouch for short periods of time. They can take care of themselves by the time they are eight weeks old. Living for about 7 years, opossums are ready to breed at a year old.

We have lots of opossum by my house. They seem to just go about their business. My veggie garden was totally snacked on. But I wouldn't beat a opossum with a shovel over it.

3 posted on 05/15/2003 11:27:32 AM PDT by Calpernia (www.HelpFeedaChild.com)
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To: Calpernia
I have them come to my deck in the winter and eat the cat food that I leave out, they also make themselves at home in the dog house that I keep on my deck (for the cats). I think they are so cute.
4 posted on 05/15/2003 11:30:02 AM PDT by angcat
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To: Willie Green
Well, if you've ever had a possum hiss at you unexpectedly, you'd kill it with a shovel, too.

Which reminds me of my brother's possum story. He was traveling on the interstate from Louisiana to Kentucky. In Mississippi, he hit a possum on the highway. It completely destroyed his oilpan as possums jump straight up when frightened. He had to sit on the side of the road two hours before a State Trooper pulled up to help.

He hates 'em.

5 posted on 05/15/2003 11:31:55 AM PDT by Conservababe
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To: angcat
Watch for fleas. My cat has brought home baby opossum as presents. Opossum seem to have a nice infestation.

Maybe put some flea powder in the dog house ;)
6 posted on 05/15/2003 11:32:26 AM PDT by Calpernia (www.HelpFeedaChild.com)
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To: Conservababe
Well, that would piss me off too.
7 posted on 05/15/2003 11:34:05 AM PDT by Calpernia (www.HelpFeedaChild.com)
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To: Willie Green
I almost ran over one once late at night.

I see them mostly as road kill.
8 posted on 05/15/2003 11:35:24 AM PDT by Chewbacca (My life is a Dilbert cartoon.)
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To: Willie Green
My mother-in-law in California has possums. She doesn't want them, and her doberman can't catch them but they're there. She has a luscious grove of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and pomegranate trees. The possums bite holes and suck everything out. While one understands that possums have to live also, the little darlings suck most of the fruit.

Possums love kitchen garbage cans, also. Two invaded my home early one morning after a back door was blown open for a few minutes. The ensuing fight with me vs. the possums would be too embarrassing to relate. I won, but it wasn't easy. :)

9 posted on 05/15/2003 11:36:06 AM PDT by xJones
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To: Calpernia
Actually the Cat house is for the strays, I keep my cats in the house at all times. I feed all animals in the winter and since the winter has not ended in PA I guess I am still feeding all the animals!
10 posted on 05/15/2003 11:36:56 AM PDT by angcat
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Willie Green
"Opossums are not the cutest, most attractive critters we have, but they are still protected under the game and wildlife code

Well they better haul their rears down here and tell my dachshund. His score stands at two opossum, three rabbits and a squirrel.

12 posted on 05/15/2003 11:37:55 AM PDT by HoustonCurmudgeon (PEACE - Through Superior Firepower)
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To: Conservababe
"Well, if you've ever had a possum hiss at you unexpectedly, you'd kill it with a shovel, too.
"

Why? Opossum's are pretty much the most inoffensive wild animal that visits our homes. They don't bite. They don't attack dogs and cats. They just walk around, mostly at night. Harmless critters.
13 posted on 05/15/2003 11:38:34 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
If they have become protected, will we start seeing "Possum Crossing" signs on the highway?
14 posted on 05/15/2003 11:41:40 AM PDT by dwilli
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To: Willie Green
"Opossums are not the cutest, most attractive critters we have, but they are still protected under the game and wildlife code and you can't indiscriminately kill them," Schake said.

They are "protected" here in my state, too. Still, I'll cross six lanes of traffic to run over one.

15 posted on 05/15/2003 11:41:57 AM PDT by nightdriver
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To: MineralMan
Yes, yes, I grew up in Louisiana. I know possums. They are so cute lined up on a tree limb hanging by their tails in order of size, sleeping.

But, at night, if you happen to run across one unexpectedly, the hiss will raise the hair on your head.

LOL
16 posted on 05/15/2003 11:42:13 AM PDT by Conservababe
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To: nightdriver
"They are "protected" here in my state, too. Still, I'll cross six lanes of traffic to run over one."

That's pretty impressive. Pretty manly, too. Wow!
17 posted on 05/15/2003 11:42:54 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Willie Green
Schake said that just because wildlife may wander into a neighborhood doesn't make it a nuisance.

This is a valid point. I always fail to be incensed when people tell me that they have to deal with wildlife. Egads, that is one of the wonders of living for me. Possums, rabbits, coyotes, deer, squirrels. I stop and watch them. I treat the coyotes with caution, and I worry for my cat and encourage the dogs to bark, but what a treat. I would never think that they need to be killed just because they exist nearby and traverse through my pasture looking for bunnies.

I had a funny experience with a opossum a while back.... I looked out to see that my dog had one on the ground. Not wanting her to get hurt by it, I went out to intervene. I walked up though, and realized she had already *killed* it. I was too nervous to pick it up, so I grabbed a flat shovel and picked it up, almost put it in my burn barrel, but decided against that, and just dropped it over my fence where the dog couldn't get it again. I'll be darned if it didn't get up and walk off a few minutes later! - Fooled me! - It played dead, mouth open tongue hanging out and completely limp when I scooped it with the shovel. An amazing experience.

18 posted on 05/15/2003 11:43:31 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Willie Green
Vermin is right. Possums, coons, skunks, they're all disease-ridden, thieving pains in the ass. They like to take up residence in my barn in the winter and eat my corn and crap all over my hay. I say terminate with extreme prejudice. Shovel, pitchfork, crowbar, whatever's handy. I usually drown the skunks, though. No sense taking chances.
19 posted on 05/15/2003 11:44:32 AM PDT by Stay the course
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To: Conservababe
"But, at night, if you happen to run across one unexpectedly, the hiss will raise the hair on your head.

"

Well, that's true. That hiss is pretty loud, especially at night.

I have one that comes to my back door every night. I feed him peanuts in the shell, one at a time. He or she even lets me scratch her between the ears. Cute critter. My cats just ignore it, or walk up and sniff noses with it.

I've even picked up wild ones that were on the street where they were likely to get run over. You just grab em by the armpits and carry them somewhere else. Put 'em down, and they wander off in a new direction. Stupid, but amusing.
20 posted on 05/15/2003 11:45:47 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: angcat
I have a BIG one that comes to my front porch every night and eats cat food. He has been doing this for the last few years. I live in a crowded zero-lot line sub-division. We have no idea where he/she "lives". I leave the cat food out on purpose. I tend to think it is the only meal this animal can depend on.
21 posted on 05/15/2003 11:49:54 AM PDT by whereasandsoforth
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To: Willie Green
He should of ate it.
22 posted on 05/15/2003 11:51:49 AM PDT by evets (Aw... how sad.)
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To: whereasandsoforth
"I have a BIG one that comes to my front porch every night and eats cat food. He has been doing this for the last few years. I live in a crowded zero-lot line sub-division. We have no idea where he/she "lives". I leave the cat food out on purpose. I tend to think it is the only meal this animal can depend on."

They do love cat food. But you might be surprised. I'll bet your 'possum is eating at several houses. A lot of people put out food for the 'possums and raccoons. It's fun to watch them. Yours must be a male. If it were a female, you'd see it bringing its young-uns for dinner once they were weaned.
23 posted on 05/15/2003 11:52:23 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: angcat
I don't esspecially mind the possum's, it's the damn ground hogs in Western PA that tick me off...Leave 'em to their vices and they will destroy your property.
24 posted on 05/15/2003 11:52:56 AM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: Willie Green
It's not as if this vermin is a staple food for the region

Mmmmm mmmmm...possom and sweet potatoes. Would somebody pppplease ppppass the ppppossom?

25 posted on 05/15/2003 11:53:59 AM PDT by BigBadWolf (Who's that out walkin' in the woods? Why, it's Little Red Riding Hood...)
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To: MineralMan
I think they are amusing too... Did you see my story at 18? ;~D
26 posted on 05/15/2003 11:54:28 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: MineralMan
I've even picked up wild ones that were on the street where they were likely to get run over.

I do feel bad for them on the road. The whole "play dead" scheme worked really well for them, till the invention of cars.

27 posted on 05/15/2003 11:55:56 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: HairOfTheDog
"I think they are amusing too... Did you see my story at 18? "

Yeah. They can sure fool you if they get attacked by a dog. Most dogs get bored once the thing looks dead.

'Possums are really stupid, but they must be doing something right...they survive really well around humans.
28 posted on 05/15/2003 11:57:01 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Willie Green
EAT MO' POSSUM
29 posted on 05/15/2003 11:59:28 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: Willie Green
Opossums

What's this, the Japanese honorific?

Oopossum-san ga futoi desu nee.

30 posted on 05/15/2003 12:01:53 PM PDT by Nick Danger (The liberals are slaughtering themselves at the gates of the newsroom)
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To: Stay the course
Perhaps city life is the best place for you.
31 posted on 05/15/2003 12:04:50 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: MineralMan
Opossums are nearly witless and incredibly hideous--but they don't bother me and I don't bother them. I didn't see any in my yard last year, and I missed their ugly pointed faces and crazy eyes.
32 posted on 05/15/2003 12:06:47 PM PDT by Ta Wee
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To: Ta Wee
"Opossums are nearly witless and incredibly hideous--but they don't bother me and I don't bother them. I didn't see any in my yard last year, and I missed their ugly pointed faces and crazy eyes."

Yeah, they're wierd. I remember the first time I touched one...the one that eats at my back door. He/she was chowing down on some dry cat food, and I reached over and skritched it between the ears. Nothing happened for about three seconds, then it jumped up. Went back to eating. A little slow, I guess, in the mentation department.
33 posted on 05/15/2003 12:09:40 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Willie Green
Here is a photo of a 'possum-on-the-halfshell.


34 posted on 05/15/2003 12:09:53 PM PDT by N. Theknow
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To: HairOfTheDog
Ya think? Let me guess: you live in the suburbs, right? Because nobody who actually lives in the country and is around wildlife all the time could make a statement like that. It's a dang possum, for crying out loud.
35 posted on 05/15/2003 12:11:57 PM PDT by Stay the course
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To: N. Theknow
Wish we had armadillos in California. I've never seen a live one in the wild.
36 posted on 05/15/2003 12:14:19 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Stay the course
Check out my post 18 and my profile page. I live in the country on acreage, keep horses and [gasp!] there is wildlife habitat here! They are part of the landscape I treasure.
37 posted on 05/15/2003 12:14:41 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Willie Green
Fines for killing wildlife without a license and/or out of season vary by species. Killing an opossum and some other animals carries a $100 fine while killing an elk has an $800 fine.

This is discriminatory. Why should an elk's life be worth more than a 'possum's?

38 posted on 05/15/2003 12:15:31 PM PDT by Fresh Wind (Never forget: CLINTON PARDONED TERRORISTS)
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To: MineralMan
Relative to body weight, I believe they have one of the smallest brains among mammals. There isn't a whole lot going on in there. The young ones will stroll right past me in full daylight while I am out weeding.

I'd much rather have oppossums around than raccoons. The raccoons climb up onto my porch roof and look in the windows...
39 posted on 05/15/2003 12:17:20 PM PDT by Ta Wee
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To: Ta Wee
"I'd much rather have oppossums around than raccoons. The raccoons climb up onto my porch roof and look in the windows...
"

I like both pretty well. I'm a lot more cautions, though, with the raccoons. I don't touch them, but they're another of my favorite suburban critters.
40 posted on 05/15/2003 12:19:02 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Ta Wee
I have had raccoons that would look pretty intently at my cat... Look right past me and fixate on the cat. Raccoons deserve more concern and caution than a opossom.
41 posted on 05/15/2003 12:19:39 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: MineralMan
You wrote:

"They just walk around, mostly at night. Harmless critters."

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

You've never cornered a possum, I gather. lol!!

This story reminded me of something that happened a number of years ago. Seems...I woke up one early, early morning to our dog barking that bark..that say's this is serious!! ( vbg ) I went out the back door towards the corner of the yard...where "Buddy" was madly barking. When I got there...I still couldn't see what Buddy was so worked up about....I moved closer. Apparently too close...as out rushed this hissing, head full of sharp teeth gleaming in the moonlight...As I skipped and hopped backwards...( and as things will be...I was barefoot..) I stepped right into the biggest dog pile in the yard. With the dog doo squeezing up thru my toes I ran as fast as I could to the backdoor...with the dog now behind and chasing the possum...and the half crazed & scared possum chasing me....spitting, hissing..and looking like some nuclear accident Tasmanian Devil..!!!

Oh...twas a night to remember!! LOL!!

FRegards,

42 posted on 05/15/2003 12:21:00 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Bill Clinton's heart is darker than a F5 tornado's heart.)
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To: HairOfTheDog
"I have had raccoons that would look pretty intently at my cat... Look right past me and fixate on the cat. Raccoons deserve more concern and caution than a opossom.
"

They seem to get along OK in my yard. I've not seen any aggressive behavior between the 'coons and the cats, although the cats tend to keep their distance and just watch them. I did have a four-month-old kitten, though, that walked right up to a big male raccoon and sniff noses with it. No harm done.
43 posted on 05/15/2003 12:21:17 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: HairOfTheDog
Believe it or not, I appreciate wildlife too. I just don't revere it to the point that I put its right to exist above my right to earn a living. That's pure PETA crap. Should I let it crap on my hay and kill my cows? Should I travel 10 miles to set one free every time it shows up? I appreciate wildlife, and I also sometimes kill it and eat it, because that's it's there for that purpose too.
44 posted on 05/15/2003 12:23:34 PM PDT by Stay the course
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To: Osage Orange
"You've never cornered a possum, I gather. lol!!

"

No, but I've picked up wild ones to move them off the road. They hiss a bit, but I've never heard of one actually biting anyone. If you pick them up just behind the front legs, they sorta go limp. Then you can carry them off the road and put them down in a safe place. Works for me.

The hissing is a sham, and those long jaws full of sharp teeth are supposed to scare you off. If you don't scare, the 'possum gives up.
45 posted on 05/15/2003 12:23:44 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
That surprises me.... I have had cats stitched up from fights that looked more serious than the average catfight, but I haven't witnessed them tangled.
46 posted on 05/15/2003 12:24:49 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Stay the course
Chicken stealing, bitty eating SOB, add a jar of John Boy and Billy's BBQ Sauce and have at it. Reminds of me of the Darling Family's Annual 4th of July Picnic fixings on Andy Griffith show.
47 posted on 05/15/2003 12:26:04 PM PDT by cav68
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To: HairOfTheDog
You are VERY lucky you used a shovel. *I* would have been fooled by that and tried to check to see if it had a pouch to try to save the babies. I would have been bit!
48 posted on 05/15/2003 12:28:26 PM PDT by Calpernia (www.HelpFeedaChild.com)
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To: Willie Green
Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the Opossum that it could be done.
49 posted on 05/15/2003 12:28:52 PM PDT by TBall
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To: Calpernia
HA! Maybe you would have been bit, maybe not.... They are not real aggressive, despite the wild stories here!
50 posted on 05/15/2003 12:30:03 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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