Possums are charming nocturnal creatures with pouches to carry their babies, little fox faces and large eyes and ears. They are expert climbers with long, flexible tails that can grasp as easily as a hand. Although many Australian mammals are shy or rare, the possum doesn’t suffer from either of these personality problems. At night they materialize in city parks and suburban backyards actively seeking food. Most will accept food from your hand and will happily make their home under your roof if they can. Possum talk sounds really loud at night in your roof, as possums are active when you are quiet, and they don’t believe in walking softly either. A possum crossing a tin roof on a still night can sound like a hefty soldier running in army boots.
Possum is like a professional soldier in other ways too. Possum is a clever strategist who can teach us how to use our brains rather than our brawn to evade predators or to enhance our lifestyle. The possum shows us how to think on our feet to deal with the unexpected and also gives us the wisdom to deal with dangerous or disagreeable situations or people. You too can play possum in the current situation if you need to. Don’t worry about pretending to be something that you are not because you know who you really are and that you are using strategy to win in the current situation.
You will also find what you need to survive in unusual areas, just like possum, and you can teach people how you expect to be treated. Melbourne possums taught their meal providers exactly what they preferred; the possum family took bread from everyone, until one person offered buttered bread. Then every possum in the park congregated around that person, until we all learned to butter our bread. When a leading Melbourne hotel offered their Japanese guests possum-picnic-packs with jam on the buttered bread, the possums immediately did their bit to make tourists welcome in Australia, until we all learned to offer jam as well. You too can use strategy in the current situation to encourage others to offer you exactly what you wanted in the first place.