Possum is a small animal, 40 to 45 centimeters in length, resembling a large rat in appearance. He has the same sharp muzzle, big mustache and a very long tail, for which, clinging to their tails, the little possums of the opossum are kept when they leave to travel on the back of their mother.
These possums live only in America. Even in zoological gardens they are not kept. In Europe they are known, perhaps, only scientists, and even then only because they belong to the marsupials, that is, the mothers of opossums, like the Australian kangaroos, carry their newborn cubs until they grow up in a special bag. Otherwise, helpless kids can not exist.
At home, opossums are known to everyone, and the expression “to play the role of opossum” does not cause any confusion to anyone. When a player is knocked out of the football field and he lies on the grass, not going to get up, the comrades shout to him: “It’s enough to play the role of opossum.” It means – get up, do not pretend to be dead. Footballer understands: the comrades guessed that he suffered slightly, you need to climb.
The glory of the opossum as a shameless deceiver is not accidental. When the animal gets into trouble – whether a predator grabs him by surprise or simply does not manage to escape from a dangerous pursuer – he pretends to be dead. At first glance, this way of defense may seem stupid. However, the conclusions should not be rushed. If this were so, possums would long ago cease to exist.
“Psychological” method of fighting your enemies, otherwise it can not be called, is based on the fact that anything unusual causes fear in animals, or, as the scientists say, an orientation-defensive reaction. It’s no wonder from fear, and forget about hunger. Here, of course, not before the hunt. No animal, no matter how predatory it may be, stumbles upon the killed animal, does not immediately attack it. Stillness of prey, unnatural posture are unusual and cause a predator fear.
He will long wander around before he is convinced that there is no danger. Only then, gradually, with great precautions, the predator will risk getting closer to the prey. Often, fear is stronger than hunger, and the predator bypasses the side, it would seem, very delicious food. This behavior allows the possum to choose a convenient moment and escape. Usually it is not even pursued. A very sharp transition from complete immobility to running is also strange and causes fear.