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Racoon's and Possums in the Beaufort Area

Racoon's are very common in the Beaufort area. The "bandit's mask" and ringed tail has enhanced it's reputation for mischief. But their intelligence may explain why the raccoon has been able to adapt so well into urban areas. In 1908, a study by the ethologist H. B. Davis demonstrated raccoons were able to open 11 of 13 complex locks in less than 10 tries and could repeat the actions when the locks were rearranged or turned upside down. Their learning speed was equivalent to that of the Rhesus Monkey. New studies have concluded that they can remember solutions to tasks for up to three years. Racoons climb down trees head first by rotating their back feet and have extremely sensitive front paws. They are frequently seen washing their food when hunting near the water, but experts believe this actually increases sensitivity of their paws. Racoons may become aggressive when feeding or when they feel threatened. Adults average 12-20 lbs, males larger than females.

Opossums or Possums

Opossums, also called Possums, are north America's only marsupial or "pouch breeder" and have more teeth (50) than any other land mammal in North America. They have tiny brains, are very slow moving and are usually solitary and nomadic, staying in one area as long as food and water are easily available. Possums are primarily nocturnal and will seek cover during the day, usually in hollow trees, brush piles, burrows, or crawl spaces under homes and buildings. Opossums are omnivorous, usually preferring insects, frogs, toads, small snakes and road kill. When threatened or harmed, they will "play possum", mimicking the appearance and smell of a dead animal. The lips are drawn back, teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, and a foul-smelling fluid. It will regain consciousness after a period of minutes or hours and escape. Adult opossums do not hang from trees by their tails, but babies can dangle for short periods. Adults can carry sticks and other material with their tails and often use it's tail as a 5th leg when climbing.