1. Trebuchet says

    Pogo? I saw him run over on the side of the road the other day. Several of him. In the Pacific Northwest.

    Seriously, I don’t think we used to have opossums up here, then we did. Now they seem to be less common, but there are more raccoons. What’s up with that?

  2. Artor says

    Trebuchet, how long have you been here? I was chasing possums out of my trash when I first moved to Eugene in ’93. Still see them around, and no shortage of raccoons, either. And nutria! Damn, those ROUS’s are ugly close up!

  3. JohnnieCanuck says

    Raccoon populations go in cycles. I was told that here in the Pacific Southwest*, just a bit north of you; it’s canine distemper that knocks their population down every time there get to be enough of them. Eventually, I suppose evolution will have its way and they will become resistant to it.

    Possums have made it across the border as have Coyotes. The Coyotes are having quite an effect on small mammals and birds so maybe they take possums as well. Haven’t heard of Nutria here.

    *Invented just now. Actually we take a continental perspective and use your term for the area.

  4. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    My last trip to Florida, I saw the Rackety Coon Chile (well, three of them (and mom)) in a swamp near Mount Dora.

    And yes, my mind immediately went to Pogo.

  5. johnmarley says

    I believe the “pogo boat” is called a pirogue. Pogo was one of my favorite comic strip.

  6. Trebuchet says

    Trebuchet, how long have you been here? I was chasing possums out of my trash when I first moved to Eugene in ’93. Still see them around, and no shortage of raccoons, either. And nutria! Damn, those ROUS’s are ugly close up!

    Newcomer! (You, not me.) I’ve been here in excess of fifty years. I don’t remember seeing possums until about 1980. Rumor at that time had it that they’d been imported by the hillbillies who had moved to the Darrington area. Probably not true.

  7. says

    But you won’t find Pogo there — that’s in South Carolina, Okefenokee is in Georgia. Yeah yeah, pedantic hypercorrection.

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  8. ekwhite says

    That reminds me of where I grew up – in Wilmington, NC. There was a lake there with cypresses just like that. The Azaleas were beautiful there in the spring.

  9. Trebuchet says

    @PZ, 9: You’re a native, I defer to your precedence! But “often as roadkill”? I only recall seeing one or two live ones!

  10. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    PZed @9:

    I used to see possums all the time when I was a kid…back in the 60s. Often as roadkill.

    Same here.

    Joke from high school: Why did chicken cross the road?

    To prove the possum that it really can be done.

  11. magistramarla says

    I have a great possum story.
    It was 2004, and my son had just separated from the Marines after a tour of duty in Iraq.
    My hubby had found a possum on the back porch that the dogs had killed. He scooped it up and tossed it into the green garbage bin.
    The next morning, our youngest daughter decided to clean the trash out of her car before picking up her friends to head to school. She freaked out when she opened the garbage bin and saw beady little eyes staring back at her. She ran screaming into the house and our son came running down the stairs in his underwear, Marine knife in hand. After he stopped laughing at her, he went out and filled the garbage bin with water. Then his sister started berating him for killing the poor possum!
    I normally would have agreed with her, but I really hated the possums that hung around our house. They stole garbage, aggravated the dogs and worst of all, killed neighborhood cats.
    I truly don’t like them.

  12. cazz says

    Possums are non-native to the PNW:

    Story I heard in the the backwoods out here, is they were imported ’round Pe Ell for meat and escaped captivity, or were just dumped in the trash when folks thought they were dead.

    Seriously, I’ve caught the buggers in live traps and dumped them out thinking they were dead, only to watch them slowly revive and trundle off.

    Didn’t used to see these things out in my area until the mid ’70’s. Their numbers have boomed in the last 20 years or so.

  13. movablebooklady says

    #13 ekwhite: I, too, grew up in Wilmington, and yes, it looks a lot like Greenfield Lake.

    I’m in the process of acquiring the new complete Pogo books, gorgeous hardbacks with all the strips in chronological order. Great fun.

  14. movablebooklady says

    Possums are nasty, mean-tempered beasts and, as noted hard to kill. I drop-kicked one off a second-storey porch and it was gone the next morning, so I guess it lived, but I never saw it again.

  15. Stacy says

    Used to see possums all the time in Santa Cruz County (California.) We get them here in Los Angeles, too.

    I had an iconic experience with an opossum once. In Capitola (Santa Cruz County–that’s central California) a neighbor once came to me practically in tears because he’d found a dead baby possum. I came out and took a look and suggested maybe it was just scared and ‘playing possum’–that being a famous defense mechanism of theirs. Neighbor said no, he was pretty sure it was dead–it was stiff. I said let’s just leave it alone for a while and see.

    Sure enough, ten minutes later the “dead” possum kit had skedaddled.