Resting, Sleeping, or Playing Opossum?

This calf was cute. Its coat was clean and fluffy and its ears seemed out of proportion with the rest of its body.

The mother was always there to provide protection but pretty much let the calf do its own thing. After browsing through the grass, the calf must have gotten tired and decided to lay down. As it got comfortable it cleaned itself a little and then rested in this position. I snapped a few photos hoping to get a few of these cute, restful shots.

It wasn’t until later when I was viewing the photos on my computer that I wondered: is this calf resting, sleeping, or just playing opossum? I believe the question is valid because while the calf seems to be in a resting or sleeping position, its ears are spread wide and at attention! Look at those ears! They remind me of that cartoon that included Baby New Year, with ears so big they made everyone laugh. He tried to cover his ears with a hat or anything else possible, but they kept popping out, providing everyone with much laughter. Just look at those ears!

A wild animal depends on its nose, ears, and eyes for safety. Danger can come from any direction and the animals must keep alert for any harm. Those big ears are like funnels, capturing sounds from a long way away and providing antennae-like receptors. Most danger does not come without a few warning signs and these ears can detect many of these audible warnings.

Ultimately, the calf did not rest, sleep, or play opossum for too long because the mother cow wanted to move along. Nevertheless, I thought this photograph was not only amusing but also revealed some meaningful insights into one of the ways a wild animal is able to sense danger. Come to think of it, I wish my ears were bigger. People might laugh at them but they would be very helpful in the wild!



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