Tlacuaches in my garden

A dead baby tlacuache greeted me this morning, out in the front yard. Pisco, one of my dogs, was obviously busy in the night and came across one, unfortunately for it. 

Tlacuaches (their name comes from the Nahuatl language) are ancient, extraordinary indigenous animals that just happen to be marsupials. In other words, they carry their young in a pouch in the front, just like kangaroos, but in fact they are closer in appearance to rats than anything else.  A lot of people think they are disgusting and hate them so a lot are killed. They are rather slow animals, that climb up trees and walls and branches at night, hunting for food, and so are easy to catch and kill. They love to eat fruit but also are known for being partial to chicken heads.  Many a chick has succumbed to a tlacuache attack!

They are also well known for playing dead. A dog might attack one and to all intents and purposes it lies there, completely lifeless. The dog loses interest and later on when he goes back it's not there. They get up and wander off once the danger is over. Amazing. 

People also eat them, they are supposed to be good for you. Once my brother-in-law played a trick on the family and made tacos of potato and beef, supposedly. After we'd all eaten them and said "how delicious" he then told us that we had eaten tlacuache. We were astonished! If we had known then the tacos would definitely not have been so delicious!

Anyway, that's an introduction to a rather extraordinary animal, and hopefully his brothers and sisters are not in my garden anymore and a long way away from Pisco's jaws.


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