Three views of an opossum

Despite glare from the snow, the trail camera picked up the long, curled tail and longish nose of an opossum.

He’s lived east of International Falls for 65 years and never seen anything like it.

The Journal has agreed to keep confidential this informant’s name to avoid traffic and looky loos from gathering in an attempt to see it.

What did this man who lives near The Loon’s Nest see? He wasn’t sure until he set up his trail camera on a recent night.

It all started when he realized that something had been eating the food he’s been leaving out for the ravens.

Was it a rat? Well, it did have a longer tail, he knew. But it’s nose was longer than a rat.

Instead, it was an opossum, confirmed by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff Wednesday.

“Fun,” was the reply from Larry Petersen, DNR area wildlife supervisor in International Falls after receiving the photos brought to The Journal Monday.

Petersen said opossums have been moving north in Minnesota over the past several decades.

“But I have not heard of any this far north or even that close,” he told The Journal. “I know Duluth area has had some sightings.”

Petersen said opossums are omnivorous, meaning they eat a wide variety of things including meat and vegetables so they are generally not limited by needing specific foods.

“Like raccoons, they take advantage of living near humans, eating garbage and pet food,” reported Petersen.

However, Petersen noted they aren’t native to Borderland.

“They do not fare well in really cold weather,” he said. “Typically those in Minnesota have their ears partially frozen off. Their fur isn’t the best for insulating them either. They do not hibernate but seek refuge from the cold wherever they can. Sometimes that refuge might be a bale of hay, but can be anything. These refugees then can be transported, possum and all, to a new location.”

Petersen said if the photos are truly taken in a Borderland locale, “I would guess that this animal got a free ride from somewhere else. But who knows…?”

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