Babies on Board - Spring on Carillon Stonegate Pond
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Spring time on Carillon Stonegate Pond. That means many of the birds and wildlife will be breeding and bearing young.
This includes that nocturnal critter - the Opossum.
I saw one meandering along the wildflowers growing along the banks of Carillon Stonegate Pond. From a distance, it looked like this opossum had been through a war. Its back was scruffy looking as if a hawk or other predator had tried to catch it. So it appeared to be a photo opportunity to record the attack.
Opossums have many predators around here, including great horned owls, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, raptors, and snakes. When threatened, they will exhibit behaviors like running, growling or "play 'possum" where they roll over, become stiff and “play” dead.
But rather than recording a vicious attack, it was life renewing on the Pond. This Opossum was a recent mother. And she was transporting three young opossum (called ‘Joeys’) around the banks of the pond. This is typical behavior for a opossum.
Opossums are marsupials - mammals with a pouch in which they carry their young. Other well-known marsupials are kangaroos, koalas, and wombats. Opossums are the only marsupials in North America.
Opossums will den nearly anywhere that is dry, sheltered, and safe; typically, nesting in tree holes or in dens made by other animals. To avoid predators, opossums move to a different den every few days. Opossums breed in January or February with some breeding again in May. Females have one to two litters per year. The average litter size is seven to eight young. Like most marsupials, opossums are very small when they are born - about the size of a bumblebee. As they get larger, they will go in and out of the pouch and sometimes ride on the mother's back as she hunts for food or a new den.
Much to see around Carillon Stonegate Pond.
Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!