skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Educators preserve, shape future with 'ALT NEW COLLEGE'; NY appeals court denies delay for Trump civil fraud trial; Michigan coalition gets cash influx to improve childcare.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A House Committee begins its first hearing in the Biden impeachment inquiry, members of Congress talk about the looming budget deadline and energy officials testify about the Maui wildfires.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

Opossums: Popular Meme, Misunderstood Marsupial

play audio
Play

Thursday, November 10, 2022   

The opossum has become a popular part of the internet, with memes dedicated to the funny-looking animal across the web. In the wild, an Idaho researcher says the scruffy marsupials deserve our respect.

Donna Holmes Parks PhD is an associate professor in the biology department at the University of Idaho, who has studied opossums since the 1970s. She said people probably shouldn't keep them as pets but they aren't dangerous.

"Since they live in so many people's backyards, I think it's nice for people not to be afraid of them," said Holmes Parks, "because they're really harmless, unless you go grabbing one, and they're not difficult wildlife to deal with. You can handle wild ones if you know how."

Holmes Parks said the sudden interest in opossums is fascinating, if also a bit confounding. But this could also be a moment for people to learn more about these creatures.

Opossums in the United States originate in the Southeast. While they typically don't like rocky areas, the marsupials can be found on the West Coast.

Cousin to creatures such as koalas and kangaroos, opossums are the only marsupials found in North America. The rest live in Australia.

Holmes Parks said they do well in suburban areas and will eat compost and dead animals, but aren't pests like rats.

"They're kind of recyclers of the world," said Holmes Parks, "and they're just good at taking advantage of whatever circumstances they find themselves in."

She described them as living fossils, most likely resembling the first mammals that walked the earth.

And that may be the extent of their purpose, so to speak, which Holmes Parks said is just fine.

"It's not like they're a keystone predator or something like a wolf or important like a moose," said Holmes Parks, "but they're just part of the richness of our environment, as far as I'm concerned."




get more stories like this via email
more stories
Michigan is among 20 states to receive a multiyear grant from the Pritzker Children's Initiative. (SneakyPeakPoints/peopleimages.com/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…


Social Issues

play sound

Nearly 100 school board elections are coming up in Minnesota this fall, with some gaining attention because of the candidates who are running…

Social Issues

play sound

The so-called conservative "hostile takeover" of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students …


Only 546 of the tenants in the the 5,563 eviction cases filed in Nebraska in the first half of 2023 were represented by legal counsel. (tab62/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …

Social Issues

play sound

As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …

Lewiston, Idaho, sits on the Snake River at the border with Washington. (Guy Sagi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …

Social Issues

play sound

Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …

Social Issues

play sound

A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021