We have a small opossum that hangs around under our feeders. It shows up most days in the mid-afternoon, to graze on seeds and bits left by the birds and squirrels. Cute with its fur sticking out wildly all over, it’s not very big. Based on the one-pound grey squirrel on the left of the photo, I guesstimate it’s only three or four pounds. A “typical” opossum is about the size of a large house cat, and weighs in at 10 to 13 pounds.


The title calls it a “possum,” but that is actually a different animal native to Australia and New Guinea. In North America, the animal is an “opossum.” Both are marsupials. With its prehensile tail and opposable thumbs, the opossum is an excellent climber.

Besides the seeds my opossum enjoys, they are foragers and will eat carrion, rodents, insects, frogs, and plants including fruits and grains. As they are nocturnal, usually they are out at night. However, in the winter sometimes they change their patterns to take advantage of warmer temperatures during the day.

If you’re hungry, you could try this recipe for roast opossum. “The opossum is a very fat animal with a peculiarly flavored meat.” The linked recipe also includes stuffing.

3.  It is dressed much as one would dress a suckling pig, removing the entrails, and if desired, the head and tail.

4.  After it is dressed, wash thoroughly inside and out with hot water.

5.  Cover with cold water to which has been added 1 cup of salt.

6.  Allow to stand overnight. In morning, drain off the salted water and rinse well with clear water.

7.  Stuff opossum with opossum stuffing … ; sew opening or fasten with skewers.

8.  Place in roaster, add 2 tablespoons water and roast in moderate oven (350°F) until tender and richly browned, about one and one half hours.

9.  Baste every 15 minutes with drippings.

10.  Remove skewers or stitches, and place on heated platter.

11.  Skim fat from gravy remaining in pan.

Okay, and this was too funny and too weird to leave out. Listen to Cy Scarborough and the Bar D Wranglers at the Bar D Chuckwagon in Durango, CO.


11 thoughts on “Possum

  1. Pat T.

    I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to the original version of that song again, without thinking of “he’s in my way, he’s in my way”, or, “He’s on my plate, he’s on my plate”!!
    (BTW, you don’t have plans for your little visitor, do you??!)

  2. The Novice Gardener

    First time I saw one, I thought it was a little pig, duh! My aunt’s dog Sam found it and was playing with it and it was so exciting to see it play dead. Well, I WAS excited! My aunt was like meh…..seen that before 😀 And I’ve been calling it possum all this time, duh!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      My first encounter was with an enormous one, at least as large as a wheelbarrow, in our garage. This was at least 25 years ago. The garage was detached, at the back of our property, and had no functional doors. I went out in the dark for something, and there was a MONSTER in my garage! 🙂

  3. shoreacres

    Well, you can call it opossum if you like, but down here we play possum, decorate with possumhaw holly, and wait for the possum apples (persimmons) to ripen after a freeze.

    And twho can forget the night a US President dined on possum and persimmon beer! Thanks for reminding me of that little fun fact!

      1. shoreacres

        I just remembered another famous possum (or ‘possom, or opossum) — Pogo! I grew up reading Pogo, and wish that cartoon strip was still around, for all kinds of reasons.


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