Springtime in the Woods

The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.

~Edwin Way Teale

The trail cameras have been sort of slow lately, mainly capturing the usual suspects of deer, squirrels, and raccoons. They have also seen a few birds including an Ovenbird and a Wood Thrush gathering nesting material. There have been two Coyote captures including a rather rare daytime one (videos best viewed full screen).

-The cameras rarely capture Coyotes during the daytime on our property

But the stars of the trail cameras recently have been the Virginia Opossums. I put a couple of cameras at the base of a large tree that blew down in a storm a couple of years ago because it looked like something was using a hole under the root ball (a favorite type of burrow for an opossum). Indeed, I got some very quick clips of opossums coming and going (at least two different individuals), Raccoons also stopped by occasionally and sniffed around and there is a mouse and a chipmunk going in and out of some of the holes.

Another camera nearby on the now dry creek bed caught something I was hoping for – an opossum with a very large pouch, obviously carrying some babies.

-The large belly means there must be baby opossums in her pouch

I decided to move the camera at the root ball to a better location and after viewing the next two clips, I added one on the giant log on the other side of the root ball. The tree was on a slope and when it fell, it created an angled bridge about 5 feet off the ground at its highest point. These new camera positions paid off.

-This was what I was hoping for – a video clip of a mother opossum carrying a young one on her back

If you watched closely on that clip, you saw another young opossum make a brief appearance at the hole. The next day this happened…

-Two young opossums are trying to kill or are playing with a small animal – I think it is a toad

And a third young opossum makes an appearance above the two that are so engrossed with their find. I’m surprised there was not any additional footage of this encounter, but they may have wandered just out of the field of view of the camera.

After setting up a camera on the log on the other side of the steep root ball, I was rewarded with several clips of an adult opossum and some young opossums walking across. There was also a lot of footage of a very active mouse on the log. And one instance where a young opossum encountered the mouse.

-Great interaction between a mouse and a young opossum

Notice the mouse just comes up behind the opossum and moves on its way. Opossums remain in their mother’s pouch for about two months. They stay with her for another couple of months, often riding on her back. The number of babies (called joeys, by the way) an opossum has varies, but 8-10 in a litter is typical. I’m hoping the camera will capture more images of multiple young ones out and about before they disperse and are on their own.

9 thoughts on “Springtime in the Woods

  1. Thanks Mike, that is a lovely group of videos. I’ve now learned that Australia and Papua New Guinea aren’t the only places that have marsupials. I’m guessing they must be a very early variant of mammals, left over from when Gondwanaland broke up 140 million years ago. The only native mammals that are not marsupials in Australia are recent imports – bats, rats and the dingo, and humans of course.
    I always enjoy your posts, they are a real treat.

  2. Love the videos. We have a real nightly scream fest outside – assume it’s raccoons fighting over the feeder or possibly a opossum? There’s a rather large momma opossum that enjoys early morning digging around my mulched pathway after the rains lately – thinking it has set up a burrow under a nearby brush pile. I like to think it’s free soil aeration and some de-grubbing going on? The coyote footage is amazing.

  3. Very interesting videos! I guess I always thought opossums were herbivores, but apparently they are omnivores. I always learn something from your posts!

  4. Pingback: Trail Cam Tales | Roads End Naturalist

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