Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas, became a bit “wild” during a recent football game between Texas Christian University (TCU) and Texas Tech University (TTU). An opossum crashed the football game and attempted to run an interference play but was intercepted before reaching the 20-yard line. Apparently, this is not the first time stadium authorities have wrangled these little football-shaped critters.
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Opossums are a marsupial and are pretty standard in the local area around the stadium. During an interview, TTU President Lawrence Schovanec said they frequently visited his home. Word around the stadium was that he had been seen petting an opossum earlier in the day.
The opossum ran from around the 15-yard line to near the 20-yard line. Stadium personnel used a pole snare to capture it humanely. The snare assembly consists of a loop of rope on a long pole that permits handlers to “lasso” an animal safely.
At no time was the animal in danger. Although it may look like the opossum was unceremoniously “dragged” off the field, the handler used proper protocols to remove the extra player. Once off the field, the animal was likely set free in a more suitable habitat. Opossums aren’t exactly built for shacking up in football stadiums!
Opossums are one of the most misunderstood animals. They are rather ugly-looking, and they have a scary mouth full of sharp little teeth. Opossums hiss and puff up their fur when they feel threatened but are typically very docile. They can eat up to 5,000 ticks in one season. Although many people think they can carry rabies, they are immune to it. When they have babies, they carry them in a pouch until the little ones become too big. Then, they hitch a ride on the mom’s back, grabbing her fur until the weaning is complete. Opossums are an integral part of the local ecosystem.
I doubt that the pro scouts will flag this player for draft consideration, but the opossum did appear to bring good luck to the TTU football team. They won the game with a final score of 35 to 28.
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