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The Opossum Ain’t Playing


By: staff   Date: 04/5/2018


Many people associate playing dead with the opossum - that’s where the term “playing opossum” comes from, after all. But something you might not know is that when an opossum feigns death, it really goes all out! Not content with merely closing its eyes and laying down, the opossum begins drooling profusely as if ill or even rabid, releases a putrid, greenish fluid from its anal glands that makes it smell like a decaying corpse, and after losing consciousness may even mimic rigor mortis! This is quite the elaborate routine, but it isn’t conscious: when an opossum plays dead, it has actually gone into shock due to stress.


Related Mammals

(Ursus americanus)

(Pan paniscus)

(Sus scrofa)

(Ictonyx striatus)

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