Saturday, July 12, 2008

Playing possum

There has been quite a lot of interest in possums as a result of my last post, and some readers are unfamiliar with them. Above is the New Zealand version, which is less attractive than the North American variety. They are about the size of a cat.

Personally, I prefer them this way.....I have 2 dyed skins that I bought from a tannery. I use them as decoration in my bedroom on top of a wooden chest (photo shows them on my bed). The fur is lovely and soft. Don't ask me how they get it into yarn as I have no idea.


sharon young said...

Lovely colours, Shirley, is it easy to dye the skin?

Webfrau said...

There was an interesting Country Calendar episode a couple of weeks ago. The fur can be plucked easily from a freshly killed possum. They did something else to the skins of ones that weren't plucked immediately but I can't remember exactly what - freezing I think - and then plucked it. There are also mechanical plucking machines. Presumably the fur is then spun as any other fibre is.

luneray said...

Interesting comments on the possums! I think the NZ possum is much more attractive than the US opossum; the US species doesn't have hair on their tails which gives them an appearance of a giant rat. They also hiss a lot. That's their main defense; works pretty well against animals and pets but not against cars. (You see dead ones on the road a lot.)

A friend of mine works at a wildlife rehabilitation center and she says its actually very easy to handle the opossums. They'll hiss at first (baring all those sharp teeth) but if you continue to approach, they flop over and pretend to be dead. At that point, you can just pick them up by the tail and move them (e.g. if you need to clean the cage). They "revive" after they are set down and left alone for awhile.

Catherine said...

The New Zealand possum is the same as the Australian one, I believe it's a marsupial. They are protected in Australia! I told the guide at the wildlife sanctuary we visited that they were welcome to come and get them back.