You're probably really busy and stressed right now with a million and one things to do, plus all those other things you didn't get done yesterday, but spare a thought for this opossum mum, filmed carrying no less than 15 babies on her back. Not only was she able to herd that squirmy mass onto her back like an absolute pro, but in the face of YouTuber Ashley Tilley's grandfather saying "Good morning," she managed to stand her ground and be brave as hell. We salute you, opossum mum, our struggles are nothing compared to yours.
North American opossums are pretty much the greatest survivors ever, able to play dead to avoid predation, transport up to 20 babies at a time to wherever they need to go, and live inside pianos for as long as we'll let them. They've evolved into at least 103 species across the US, and will eat mostly anything that ends up in your garbage can, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, eggs, and bits of carcasses.
As America's only marsupial - we've got plenty over here in Australia, including kangaroos, koalas, and Tasmanian devils - opossums have developed a rather unique mode of parenting. They've got large pouches, so when they give birth to broods of 20 or so babies, the young remain inside for up to four months. Once large enough, the young opossums will venture outside and clutch onto their mother's fur as she scavenges for food.
There's a good reason that opossum mum stands her ground in the video above - for such relatively small creatures, opossums have a pretty well-rounded repertoire of defensives, including venom-neutralising blood. Earlier this year, researchers announced that they're attempting to develop a universal snakebite antivenom based on a particular peptide in opossum blood.
"The mice that were given the venom incubated with the peptide never showed any signs [of being sick]," chemical engineer Claire Komives from San Jose State University in California said at the time.
While we wait and see what happens in that space, let's just hope that one day, this mother opossum will get a strawberry for all her efforts, just like this little guy: