Saturday, July 14, 2012

Species Distinction

So remember how I told you about Virginia's raccoon? It's been sneaking in her back room to dine on Purina Cat Chow since time immemorial.

It couldn't possibly be the same raccoon that was doing it back when I was 9, could it? Well, maybe.  Raccoons might live a long time?

No, the internet machine just told me they're lucky to live 5 years in the wild.  Also: Missourian raccoons average about 1.8 years and in Alabama, raccoons live around 3.1 years.  I live in Georgia, so I'm betting our raccoon life expectancy is closer to the Alabama-ian raccoons. And lookee here! The longest-lived raccoon in captivity lived 17 years and 27 days.  Duly noted.

Anyway, a couple days ago, Gigi called me and was like, "Jessie.  Hey.  I was wondering if you could do somethin' for me?  I have a possum in a trap in my back room, and I need you to come pick him up and road-trip him, you know?"

I didn't know.

"Just carry him down the road in the car and let him out in the woods somewhere."

"Oh." I said. "I guess i could do that.  So, it turned out to be a possum and not a raccoon?"

"Yeah, it's a possum. I thought it was a raccoon before, but it's a possum."

Luckily, I wasn't the first person she called on this errand, and just then my uncle Bob walked in and took over the road-tripping procedure, so I just went back to work.

So, that's all been taken care of.  Only when I talked to my dad on Thursday, I told him the story, and he already knew all about it, and added another interesting detail:

"It wasn't a possum after all," he said.  "She misidentified it."

What was it?

A raccoon. It was a raccoon, just like she thought back before she saw it and misidentified it as a possum.

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