Last night, I had a close encounter with one of the neighbors:
The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), the only marsupial in temperate North America, is an unlovely beast, often characterized as looking like a rat's ugly cousin. In the picture I posted, though, the face evinces a certain cuteness, looking more like a wallaby's face than a rat's.
Its profile is less flattering... Montgomery Clift it ain't:
Possums are stupid beasts, and slow, but they are proficient arborealists. I came upon this critter while on the walkabout, and it took a while to get hip to my presence, whereupon it started climbing. It got to about head height, but I probably could have nabbed the sucker if I had wanted to. Possums are extremely short-lived creatures, largely because they are easy prey- on one particular island off the Georgia coast, they tend to live for a couple of more years than usual. Despite being dumb, slow, and short-lived, they are increasing their range... if anything, they are survivors, as put-upon as they are. I happen to like them, they have an underdog's undeniable charm.