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45 minutes ago, wefalck said:

Yes, but they forgot to bring the can-opener ...

I live in an area where bears are quite common and ran into them fairly often, (Once every other year or so) when I was an active hiker. Believe me when I say they carry VERY efficient can openers with them all of the time! They are not very tidy when they open anything metal! They are smart as well. I saw one case where a guy didn't lock one of his car doors and the bear managed to open it using the handle just like a human and DESTROYED the interior!

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23 minutes ago, lmagna said:

I live in an area where bears are quite common and ran into them fairly often, (Once every other year or so) when I was an active hiker. Believe me when I say they carry VERY efficient can openers with them all of the time! They are not very tidy when they open anything metal! They are smart as well. I saw one case where a guy didn't lock one of his car doors and the bear managed to open it using the handle just like a human and DESTROYED the interior!

 

Rule #1.. Don't mess with bears.  They can and may well hurt you.

 

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Same with Australian possums - incredibly sharp (and big) claws, as well. Think of a cat's claws and then double the size.

 

Natural History: Possums and Gliders

 

This is the brushtail possum. Incredibly cute, but don't mess with those claws. We had a brushie in our ceiling for 18 months till we managed to close up all the entry holes in the house (an old one). They made nests in the insulation. Had to throw it all out because of the possum p*ss. 

 

Possums are protected here - it's illegal to take them somewhere else and dump them in the bush - they're very territorial and they just die if they are put into another possum's territory - you're allowed to remove them from your house but you have to release nearby. So they are usually back in your house before you are. But having been imported into New Zealand they've become a feral pest , so NZ now has a thriving possum fur industry.  

 

Isn't the opossum America's only marsupial? I think ALL our mammals are marsupials  - except the monotremes, of course - which lay eggs - the platypus and the echidna.

 

Australian Platypus Conservancy says the platypus remains reasonably  widespread in central Victoria | Bendigo Advertiser | Bendigo, VIC   Platypus House - Discover Tasmania

 

Steven

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18 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

Rule #1.. Don't mess with bears.  They can and may well hurt you.

 Quite right, Mark. When we lived in Egekik, Alaska, I was out on the tundra most days. Regarding bears, I lived by the "I won't mess with you if you don't mess with me" rule. It's hard to comprehend the power of brown bears (or any bear for that matter) unless you've witnessed first hand or have seen the results of their energy. 

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Another one that people seem to think are OK to approach are Moose! There are a couple of towns fairly local here where at certain times of the year a Moose or two will wander into town and cruise the main drag. People act like they are tame and come right up to them for pictures! Every once in  awhile one of them pays the price.

 

I suppose I should not be so quick to point a finger. I have approached deer I have encountered and gotten almost within petting distance. I also approached a herd of Roosevelt Elk out on the coast once and got quite close to one of the Doe's. There were a couple of tree trunks that offered some protection, but we were almost eye to eye and she was fully aware that I was there. As I started backing away I noticed the Buck watching me VERY intently. HE was HUGE and had an even larger set of antlers, at least they seemed that way to me. He did not look all that happy that I was making moves on one of his wives. I made a rapid retreat thinking what a stupid idiot I was!:blush:

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17 minutes ago, Louie da fly said:

Isn't the opossum America's only marsupial?

I don't know if they are the only Marsupials, but they are certainly the most prolific! Around here they are EVERYWHERE in the warmer months. Unlike your Opossums, in my opinion ours are really quite ugly, and incredibly stupid. They have no car sense at all and if they see one coming at them while crossing the road at night will just stop, turn and hiss at it!

 

My wife used to volunteer at a wildlife rescue center and handled a number of possums over time. She said that in reality they were very mellow and like Mary says, quite soft. They never tried to bite or claw her when she picked them up to clean their cage and stuff. Squirrels on the other hand would claw her hands to ribbons if she did not wear gloves when bottle feeding the babies. They have razors for claws!

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1 hour ago, Louie da fly said:

Isn't the opossum America's only marsupial? 

 

Yes, North America only has one marsupial - the Virginia opossum.  South and Central America have about 100 species, but they are also in the opossum family tree.  Contrary to its name, the Virginia opossum is not just found in Virginia, but does not do well in northern parts of the US.  They tend to have a lower body temperature than most animals and often die off in the winter in northern states.  Their lifespan in our area is only about 2 years if they don't find a warm place to hole up.  We currently have 3 possums, a cat and occasionally a skunk that live under our deck.  Possums don't normally socialize with each other, but I guess they do what they have to do to stay warm.

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Moose are huge compared to deer (and not so timid.)  My admiral and I had the good fortune to spend three days driving Formula Fords at racing school in Mont Tremblant, Quebec many years ago.  The instructor said if you see a deer crossing the road course, avoid it.  If you see a moose, no worries, there is plenty of room to drive under it!!!

Allan

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My Canadian friends actually told me (and showed me pictures) that moose are dangerous to normal cars (perhaps not to Ferraris and similar flunders), because their legs are so long, that the body is above the bonnet and on collission they slide into the passenger compartment. I have seen a photograph with a moose on the (empty) passenger seat and it didn't come through the door.

 

The same friends in southern Ontario (Ottawa River) had bears in their garden quite frequently and I have seen them crossing the road in front our car.

 

BTW, I can also tell you that lions have bad breath ;)  Travelling in Africa, sometimes we came as close to them as a couple of metres (being inside the 4x4). Catching (juvenile !) alligators can be fun: going out by boat at night, paralyse them by the beam of a torch and then grab them in the water behind the neck and also the tail - done that in Brazil.

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15 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

sn't the opossum America's only marsupial? I think ALL our mammals are marsupials  - except the monotremes, of course - which lay eggs - the platypus and the echidna.

 

The possum is the only marsupial north of Mexico in this hemisphere, but there are others further south. There is a good geologic reason why marsupials are common in Australia and also South America: these areas were once geologically joined and when their plates split apart the ancestral marsupial population was carried off in different directions and evolved separately thereafter.

 

From a biological/ecological point of view, Chile has far more in common with Australia than with North America. You can fly from North America a  very long distance east, well into Europe, and still find very similar species of trees and animals, because these areas were joined not that long ago (geologically speaking). But if you fly down to South America, you find Australian-like flora and fauna instead. North and South America only joined up recently (again, geologically speaking), providing just enough time for a few critters like the possum to spread northward.

 

4 hours ago, wefalck said:

moose are dangerous to normal cars (perhaps not to Ferraris and similar flunders), because their legs are so long, that the body is above the bonnet and on collission they slide into the passenger compartment.

 

This is true. My mother once hit a moose with a small Honda; the durn thing leaped off a road embankment while she was driving. It landed square on the hood, its body shattering the windshield, while its legs easily straddled the car on either side. Bent in the frames that hold the windshield, too.  But it did no other structural damage as it just slid off the hood and ran away, it was just the moose equivalent of a hockey body check to the car.

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4 hours ago, wefalck said:

BTW, I can also tell you that lions have bad breath

 

That's because they can't floss after every meal - LOL!  You are right, though.  I have friends in Wisconsin who run a large cat sanctuary and the lions have the worst breath of all the felines up there as far as I can tell.  I've never gotten close enough to their tigers to tell you how their breath is!  (Although I have held a tiger cub.) You can never trust a tiger - even if it's been raised in captivity - and don't ever turn your back on one.  Their instinct is to go after a retreating body - you might say that they  will bite the hand that feeds them!

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11 hours ago, wefalck said:

My Canadian friends actually told me (and showed me pictures) that moose are dangerous to normal cars (perhaps not to Ferraris and similar flunders), because their legs are so long, that the body is above the bonnet and on collission they slide into the passenger compartment. I have seen a photograph with a moose on the (empty) passenger seat and it didn't come through the door.

 

 

That also happens with deer.  In Illinois, there were frequent reports of deer being hit and slide back into the front glass and sometimes into the interior.  Out were where I am (west coast) there's only "mule" deer which are small compared to the ones east of us.  They'll mess up a radiator but usually not tall enough to end up on the hood.

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2 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

That also happens with deer.

 

That's very true.  The deer break the windshield and start kicking and flaying around.  If the driver doesn't get injured by the initial hit, they often get kicked up pretty badly.  Deer have also been known to go through plate glass windows of stores.  I don't know if they see their own reflection in the glass so they charge at it thinking it's another deer or what makes them do it.

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My Dad had an Insurance client who hit a deer at 65 mph on the NYS Thruway. The deer came out of nowhere, tried to jump over the hood but got hit in the belly, broke in half with the head/chest crashing thru the windshield,  hitting the client's wife sitting in passenger seat. She died from blunt force trauma almost instantly. Client told my Dad he never saw the deer until he hit it, came out of a wooded area in the median.   

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Accidents like that usually happen when the bucks are in rut and chasing the does.  Either the doe runs out in traffic because she's paying attention to the buck and not to where she is going, or the doe makes it across and the buck gets hit.  I guess that shows that love is blind.

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