An opportunist is defined as “one who adapts his actions to take advantage of opportunities or circumstances.” I didn’t have this word in mind when I named our nightly visitor Opie, but in hindsight the name seems appropriate.
Numerous wild creatures find their way to our yard and front porch to share in the feral cat buffet served daily. Opie was a scrawny, emaciated, worse-for-wear possum on his first visit, but a nightly diet of Meow Mix and left-over fruit and veggies courtesy of the bird in residence, has expanded his girth and done wonders for his demeanor.
He no longer walks, he waddles – a distinct side to side sashay worthy of any catwalk. There’s no hissing, showing of teeth, or displays of aggression. His innate shyness toward humans disappeared with his ribs as they vanished beneath layers of insulating fat.
He now fancies himself part of the cat family and they seem to accept him as one of their own. If he arrives to find the buffet empty, he’ll sit or stand in front of the storm door, curiously peering inside and patiently waiting. His imploring Oliver Twist look clearly says: “Please sir, I want some more.”
One cold night in February, he arrived in complete disarray. He’d clearly had a run-in with something larger and hungrier than himself. His face was covered in lacerations and a third of his tail missing, although he seemed unaware of his injuries. A bloody path marked his progress from porch steps to food bowl as he settled in for his nightly bout of fine dining.
On closer inspection, I wondered if this might be his last meal with us. But he continued to return night after night and each visit showed marked signs of healing and improvement.
Possums are not only hardy and resourceful, they’re apparently talented athletes as well. Ratatouille of Liberty Mountain Resort in Carroll Valley, PA is considered the world’s greatest snowboarding opossum. He regularly wows visitors with his skill on the slopes and even has his own lift pass.
If Opie wants a Burton Riglet snowboard and a chance to be king of the mountain, he’s clearly going to have to get off the porch and into the gym.
Do you have any unusual animal visitors that bring a smile to your day? If so, please share their stories in the comments section.