Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Fightin' with the DEVIL!

My good friend Tim Blair has this to say:


The Tasmanian devil goes by the nickname “nature’s janitor”, according to the UK Daily Telegraph’s Nick Squires. What an odd claim; we don’t use the word “janitor” in Australia (not widely, at least; we prefer “cleaner”.)

Squires seems to have confused our sweet Devil with the common North American opossum. Perhaps a fight could be arranged, devil vs. opossum, to decide who earns the prestigious janitor title.

Say, not so fast there, Aussie Cobber Tim Mate! Surely you must know that here in good old Amurrica, we don't have janitors, either. Here we have sanitary engineers, which is a much longer, and more prestigious, and a more self-esteem building title than either janitor or "cleaner."

As for this little contest being proposed, it must be said that the noble Didelphis virginiana of our lush and beautiful woodlands is a highly moral and upright creature, and certainly not one to be associated in any manner, recreational or otherwise, with a filthy beast whose main claim to fame according to the newspaper article is its "habit of fighting over decaying carrion and engaging in violent sexual foreplay."

Further, if such a contest were to be arranged (and, again, I am certainly against it on general principles), but if it were to be determined that such a bout would occur, you devil fanciers must be forewarned of the terrible foe you will meet. I found this information on a highly scientific website on the Internet, so you can rest assured it is true and not something I just made up.

[...] The adult male possum stand approximately five feet high at the shoulder, and can weigh from 700 to 1,500 pounds when fully mature. When standing on its hind legs, the possum can reach heights of over 10 feet. [...]

{...] The possum has as many as 3,000 teeth at any one time. They are triangular, serrated, razor-sharp, and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. The teeth are located in three rows, with older teeth shedding and newer ones rotating forward within the jaw to replace those which were shed.

The possum can bite with enough force to sever a telephone pole. [...]

[...] Possums are ambush hunters, stalking their prey, approaching as closely as possible, and then charging the animal from behind. They usually bite the neck or throat of their prey. The neck-bite, which severs the spinal cord, is typically used on small or medium sized prey, while the throat bite, which causes suffocation, is used on larger animals.

After killing their prey, possums drag the animal to a safe place, consuming it over the course of several days. Typically, wild possums gorge themselves on fresh kills, and can eat as much as 40 pounds (18 kg) of meat at one time. [...]

[...] Possums are North America's second-fastest land animal after the pronghorn antelope of the Great Plains, and have been clocked at speeds over 45 miles per hour. [...]

Not quite an even match for the tiny Tasmanian devil, eh?

So, it would be best for all concerned that we quit this silly game and pursue talk of it no further.

However, I do think it would be an interesting experiment in animal behavior to place a possum, a Tasmanian devil, and Nancy Pelosi in a glass box and see what happens.

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