|Laura with deer heart|
We used to have an opossum that lived under our back shed. One year, on the evening I tossed out the hearts, it snowed. The next morning I got up and checked for tracks. Sure enough, our resident opossum stumbled on one of the deer hearts less than 20 yards from its winter home. His tracks told the story of it grabbing the heart and carrying it back under the shed. I found no other tracks.
Opossums are a southern species. They really are not well adapted to winters in New York. When it gets really cold, near zero F, they don't even exit their burrows. Frost bitten ears, tails and toes are all common. Nor do they have behaviors that help! They do not hibernate. They don't even cache food. I mean a self-respecting New York mammal may have taken the time to have gathered ALL the deer hearts on a night that was warm enough to forage for food (I have a series of camera trap photos of a red fox doing this very thing). But this opossum just grabbed the first food it came upon and brought it home and ate it.
That old shed is gone but this winter we still have an opossum calling our backyard home. Last Wednesday was Cardio Day and I laid out a single deer heart in front of one of my camera traps. It took less than two hours to get the following photo:
|Dinner is served!|