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But they can show directional turns to avoid being captured when pursued. Movement, habitat use and denning of opossums in the Georgia piedmont. Virginia opossums have 13 nipples arranged in a ring of 12 around the central number 13. – Source 8. Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. Natural Scavengers and Stealthy Hunters Opossums are natural scavengers, a tendency which has caused them to run afoul of humans for years by raiding their garbage. The albinotic colour phase is a rare and unusual colour pattern, often misinterpreted as albino (true albinos have white fur and pink eyes and skin), in which the fur is white but the colour of the eyes, eye rings, feet, and basal portion of the tail is dark brown or black. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Most reproductive females are under a year of age, and few live long enough to breed a second year. Teeth. Adult opossums get a bit larger than this. opossum rabies. It is also found in Mexico and Central America. Virginia opossums can walk on all fours along a branch, and then sit up and support themselves on their hindquarters. Nor does it dig or claw. They live alone, are active at night, and they are good climbers. It was Captain John Smith who used the term opossum for the first time in 1608. In that sense, Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are perfectly suited for life in the city.They avoid unwanted attention by foraging primarily at night. Scientists estimate that a single opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks in Around 85 days old they begin eating solid food and are weaned completely between 93 and 105 days. The Virginia opossum is a competent climber and swimmer and can reach a running speed of 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h). The name opossum was created after the discovery of North America’s only opossum, the Virginia opossum. I have listed my Top 7 Opossum facts about … Opossum eyes do have whites and irises, but because their pupils are so large, their eyes appear completely black from a distance. Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub, 2. It prefers wet areas like swamps, marshes and streams. Females carry their young in a fur-lined pouch. They measure 13–37 in (35–94 cm) long from their snout to the base of the tail, with the tail adding another 8.5–19 in (21.6–47 cm). Interesting Facts About the Opossum Opossums, the only naturally occurring marsupial in North America, are incredibly interesting creatures. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. The young are 1 centimetre (0.4 inches) in length and are born under-developed as with all marsupials. The common opossum is found in Central America and the northern South America. Opossums inhabit a wide range, from sea level to elevations over 10,000 feet. It has a white face and thin, black ears. The exaggerated pupil dilation is … Lifespan. The Virginia Opossum has long been found in much of what is now Central America, Me… They like cover and places to hide. The species that many people think of when hearing about this animal is the common opossum, also known as Virginia opossum. In the United States, it is typically referred to simply as a possum. Although they are still trapped, their fur has a low market value. The opossum has a long, pointed face with black eyes, long whiskers and a distinctive pink nose. It has a long, tapered, scaly tail. The nocturnal Virginia Opossum, or North American Opossum, is the only marsupial to be found naturally occurring in the New World north of Mexico. If the mouth is not carefully detached from the nipple before the young can open its mouth on its own, the skin of the nipple may be torn and bleed—hence the notion that the mouth and nipple had grown together. This play can enable the opossum to escape predation, as most predators do not eat carrion. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing. Virginia opossums may have a better chance of survival in urban environments partially because there are fewer predators. The fur color may differ according to the population’s range. Opossum Facts. The Virginia opossum can often be found in wooded areas, though its habitat may vary widely. They are very good climbers and may establish their dens in trees. It’s quiet, doesn’t pick fights or leave foul odors. The brief gestation period is 12 to 13 days and up to 25 young may be produced in each litter. The average number of young is typically 7 or 8. Omissions? The opossum has been around for at least 70 million years and is one of Earth's oldest surviving mammals! Virginia opossums have a narrow snout, with a pink nose and prominent whiskers. The Virginia opossum was once widely hunted and consumed in … Corrections? They can also swim or climb to escape from danger. Rare in the north, black-phase individuals are more common in the southern United States and farther south. The Virginia possum is well-known for playing dead when it is threatened. Opossums are optimistic omnivores cleaning up our environment each night of trash, road kill, even keeping those pesky rodents and … Most, if not all, marsupials live in Australia. Not all marsupials live in Australia; around 100 species are found in the Americas, and it is thought that it was here that the first marsupials appeared. Opossum's are far more interesting than most people give them credit for. They only remain in one den for a long period when weaning young. Sometimes they will eat garbage and carrion. The fur is pale grey with white cheeks. A short time after the first litter becomes independent, the female breeds again. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Virginia-opossum, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - North American Mammals - Virginia Opossum. They commonly prey on snakes, including poisonous species, and are immune to pit viper venom. They are important as seed dispersers, redistributing undamaged seeds from the genera Diospyros and Asimina, among others. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. The Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial. The Virginia opossum lives in regions as far north as Canada and as far south as Central America, while other types of opossums only inhabit countries south of the United States. Read about Didelphis virginiana (Virginia opossum) on the Animal Diversity Web. The common opossum, also known as the Virginia opossum, is a somewhat maligned but fascinating creature. Gestation period is 12 – 14 days. Only one of these lives in North America. Description The Virginia Opossum has a long head and pointed snout, with long whiskers. "Didelphia" is Greek, meaning "two wombs," and "Virginiana" is modern Latin meaning "of Virginia," the state where opossums were first discovered. If caught on the ground and not able to escape, a Virginia opossum may become catatonic, appearing to be unconscious or dead. Virginia Opossum Fun Facts. Thereafter, until weaned and independent, the young either travel in the pouch or cling to the fur of their mother’s back. It has a long, prehensile tail and short legs with sharp claws. Able climbers, opossums occupy a variety of habitats as long as water is available. During this behavior the animal becomes motionless, this may last as little as a minute, or it may Gestation is 12–13 days. Unlike so many marsupials of today, the opossum is doing well for the following reasons: It is adaptable and able to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, insects, small vertebrates etc. An individual will curl up with its mouth open, tongue hanging out, and it looks dead. There are no major threats to this species. The Virginia opossum has a total of 50 teeth, more than any other North American mammal. The notion that the mouth of the young fuses to its mother’s nipple is also false. Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) have a wide range throughout Central and North American, which continues to expand.Currently, Virginia opossums can be found from Costa Rica to southern Ontario, Canada. Though they aren't picky about where they hang out, opossums love trees and will stay aloft in trees as much as possible. Denning sites vary and may include buildings, abandoned burrows and hollow trees. White hair covers its face, and its body is a sparse, coarse grizzl… Photo by Cody Pope (Wikimedia). They begin their nightly activities at dusk and are active until dawn. Males are usually larger than females. The Virginia opossum is a small mammal about the size of a house cat with a long, pointed nose, black hairless ears, dark eyes and a nearly hairless tail adapted to grasping objects (called “prehensile”). However, the Center for Disease Control reports that in the United States, the vast majority of recorded rabies cases come from the bite of 4 animals - raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Opossums Kill Ticks by the Thousands ... Outside of Mexico, the Virginia opossum is the only known marsupial to make its home in North America – although there are several other species of opossum that can be found in other parts of the world. They also prefer areas that are wet, like marshes, swamps and streams. Virginia opossums are nocturnal, solitary and terrestrial. Its ears, eyes, eye rings, and feet and the basal one-third to one-half of the naked tail are black. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. However, the total number that can be raised is determined by how many teats (normally 13) are in the pouch. The opossum has a heavyset body covered with grayish fur. The only opossum species occurring north of Mexico is the. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. This is a study specimen of a juvenile opossum. They don’t hibernate but do reduce activity during the coldest seasons. It has a triangular head and a long pointed nose. [48] In some areas they can be trapped or hunted by humans but the main threat from humans is collision with motor vehicles. Virginia Opossum Facts: Feigning death. Populations in western Canada and along the Pacific coast south to northern Baja California, Mexico, originated as introductions from the eastern United States. The size of a house cat, males average about 3 kg (6.6 pounds), females about 2 kg (4.4 pounds). Their underfur is usually whitish and tipped in black, but their coloration varies throughout their range. Opossums have the greatest number of teeth of any land mammal: fifty of them, razor sharp. 1. The life span of Virginia opossums is short. It is a solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat. Virginia opossums have a long head and pointed snout, rounded naked ears, and a scaly, nearly hairless, prehensile tail that is about half of their total length. The Didelphis Virginiana, known as the Virginia Opossum is North America's only marsupial. Dangerous insects, especially disease-carrying ticks. They seem to prefer holes in the ground dug by other animals, such as woodchucks. Geographic Range. Breeding is typically from December to August. References Allen, C., R. Marchinton, W. MacLentz. Virginia opossums live in most parts of the United States that are east of the Rocky Mountains, and along the west coast from British Columbia in Canada and to Baja California. They don’t hibernate but do reduce activity during the coldest seasons. North America’s only marsupial mammal (female has a pouch) Have 50 sharp teeth and can eat almost anything Natural immunity to rabies (8 times less likely to carry rabies than wild dogs) Have partial or total immunity to snake venom; The Virginia opossum can eat up to 5,000 ticks in a single season. As many as 25 young may be born in each litter, but the maximum number raised by the mother is determined by the number of teats (normally 13) in the pouch, and the average number of pouch young is usually 7 or 8. They have a number of distinguishing characteristics that are typically unknown to … Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. Benjamin Harrison had two pet opossums named Mr. Its long head has a pointed snout, long whiskers and 50 sharp teeth. Virginia opossums are nocturnal, solitary and terrestrial. Opossums have been moving north in … Most body functions remain normal, but the animal appears to be unconscious or dead. Meet the virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) including their appearance, diet, habitat, range, breeding, facts and behavior. This behaviour has given rise to the expression “playing possum.” Fat opossums were once a popular food in the southern United States, and possum hunting was a popular sport. The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Virginia opossum total population size, but this animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. It is not a matter of IF the opossum will become ill, it is a matter of when!. Here are 13 Interesting Opossum facts. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Virginia opossum. The fur is grayish and is everywhere except its ears, tail and feet. Virginia opossums can vary considerably in size, with larger specimens found to the north of the opossum's range and smaller specimens in the tropics. Virginia Opossum on The IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_opossum, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40502/0. Virginia Opossum Facts, Lifespan, and Habitat North American Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) with a winter coat. The name “opossum” was used for the first time in western culture in 1608 by Captain John Smith. Facts about possums often include claims that they are disease-carrying dangerous creatures. Virginia opossum, (Didelphis virginiana), the only marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found north of Mexico. The myth that the opossum gives birth through its nose probably begins from the female’s habit of licking the pouch and surrounding fur just before the young are born. The Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), sometimes called a possum, is a marsupial.There are many marsupials in Australia, but the Virginia Opossum is the only North American marsupial. The opossum (order Didelphimorphia) is the only marsupial found in the Americas. The Virginia opossum is the only member of the genus that stores body fat, and older males may exceed 6 kg (13.2 pounds) in the fall of the year. They begin their nightly activities at dusk and are active until dawn. They den under stumps, in hollow trees and logs, and in buildings and rock piles. Virginia Opossum Reproduction Virginia Opossums mate both in late winter and in springtime. The opossum is the only species of marsupial (mammals with a pouch in which they carry their young) that is found outside of Australia an it's surrounding islands. The oldest documented free-living Virginia opossum was a three-year-old male from Maryland. Instead, it waddles in, eats a rodent, scarfs down some insects and snails, munches on fallen fruit, and …gestation is that of the Virginian opossum, about 12 days, and the longest that of the Indian elephant,...…, Marsupial, any of more than 250 species belonging to the infraclass Metatheria (sometimes...…. Didelphis virginiana UF 56621, a mandible belonging to this species Quick Facts Common Name: Virginia opossum, North American opossum The family Didelphidae originated in the Cretaceous and … Virginia opossum facts, pictures, video and information. Opossums are nature’s pest control and trash management. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage. They will tolerate being poked or prodded and even bitten by an animal without reacting. It is familiar to many North Americans as it is often seen near towns, rummaging through garbage cans, or as roadkill. Their ears are large and delicate and the tail is prehensile, adapted for gripping and wrapping around tree limbs. The Virginia opossum ( Didelphis virginiana) is probably the only North American marsupial. A marsupial is an animal with a pouch, like a kangaroo or a koala. Their prepared habitat is wooded or shrubby. When startled or frightened, opossums can pretend to be dead (or “play possum”). General Facts » The pouch young remain firmly attached to a nipple for their first 50 to 55 days. A marsupial is an animal with a pouch, like a kangaroo or a koala. These opossums are polygynous, which means that one male mates with multiple females. Virginia opossums eat almost anything, including fruit, insects, earthworms, eggs, nestlings, birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, and carrion. The scientific name for the opossum is Didelphia virginiana. By eating carrion, the risk of disease spreading in the area is lowered. In the United States, the animal is typically referred to simply as a possum. The only opossum species occurring north of Mexico is the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), which ranges from lower eastern Canada and Puget Sound southward to Costa Rica; other members of that genus are found in South America.The Virginia opossum may grow to 100 cm (40 inches) in length (including the tail) and is about the size of a house cat. And they often prefer to “play possum” in stressful situations and hope the problem goes away, rather than confront it head-on. On entering the pouch, each baby must find a nipple and attach itself or it will die. Born blind and naked and weighing about 0.13 gram (0.0046 ounce) apiece, these tiny, larvalike young crawl upward using their forelimbs as they seek the mother’s fur-lined pouch. The Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial. The Virginia opossum is predominantly found in east and south of North America. The coarse coat of long guard hair overlying the shorter, dense underfur may be either pale gray (gray phase) or mainly black (black phase). Virginia opossums change their denning sites often. They have long, hairless, prehensile tails and feet with an opposable hallux (or thumb) that help them hold on to branches. Fast facts about the only native North Amercian marsupial, the Virginia opossum North America's only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal. Male Virginia opossums may grow to 100 cm (40 inches) but average about 76 cm (30 inches) in total length (including the tail); females average about 72 cm (28 inches). Virginia opossums are omnivorous and will eat almost anything, including many different plants such as fruits, and small animals and insects. The Virginia Opossum is about 2.5 feet (76 cm) long, including its foot-long, hairless, prehensile (grasping) tail. They are very good climbers and may establish their dens in trees. The species’ behavior gave rise to the phrase ‘playing possum’. In this article, we will be mostly discussing Virginia opossum facts and benefits to the garden. There is a formidable array of some 50 small, sharp teeth in the mouth. These marsupials are great climbers. It is only the size of a … The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) and the common opossum (D. marsupialis) can be found together in eastern and southern Mexico and in Central America. Virginia opossums have a long head and pointed snout, rounded naked ears, and a scaly, nearly hairless, prehensile tail that is about half of their total length. Opossums grow to about 25 to 40 inches in length and weigh four to 14 pounds. They have a reputation as being very slow and clumsy. The face is white in northern populations and dusky brown or blackish in populations from Texas southward but always with a white cheek patch—a characteristic used to identify this species where it occurs together (sympatry) with the common opossum. The body is shaped like a large cat and has a long pointed tail with a scaly appearance. Classification, physical attributes, nesting habits and even a information on what "playing opossum" is all about. Opossums are good to have around. Only one species of opossum, the Virginia opossum, lives in the United States and Canada. A wild opossum may even live for only a year while opossums raised in captivity can live up to four years. POSTURE. The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. The opossum has been around for at least 70 million years and is one of Earth's oldest surviving mammals! If caught on the ground and not able to escape, a Virginia opossum may become catatonic. The name was adapted from the Native American Algonquin term ‘ apasum ’, which mean white animal. The animal lives in a wide range of habitats, including open woods, deciduous forests, and farmland. Virginia opossums are famous for entering a catatonic state when they are alarmed; this is commonly known as “going opossum”. The Virginia opossum is about the size of a cat. Each pouch young remains firmly attached to the nipple for the first 50–55 days of life. It is familiar to many North Americans as they frequently inhabit settled areas due to the associated proximity to food sources, notably trash cans. Two litters per year are normal, but in colder northern regions the young from the second litter rarely survive the winter. The opossum (order Didelphimorphia) is the only marsupial found in the Americas. Opossum Waleed-July 10, 2018 0 The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is North America’s only marsupial. The Virginia opossum is the only member of the genus that stores body fat, and older males may exceed 6 kg (13.2 pounds) in the fall of the year. Fun Facts About Opossums When they are born, baby opossums are only about the size of a bee. Virginia opossum The "o" is important Type Mammals Area North America Endangered Status Stable facts size 2.5 feet in length, from nose to tail An average soccer ball is 8.65 inches tall. Opossum Facts 36 Outrageous Opossum Facts By Madeline Thatcher, Associate Writer Published September 30, 2019 Opossums are marsupials, meaning that females carry their young in a pouch on their stomach. Amongst their fur are long white-tipped guard hairs. Opossums originated in South America and are believed to have entered North America during the Great American Interchange, which is when the continents connected and is believed to have occurred approximately 2.7 million years ago. There are more than 60 different species of opossum. It’s late autumn/early winter, and I see dead possums. Opossums have the most teeth out of any other North American mammal, 50. – Source 7. They are about the same size as a large house cat, having a triangular head with a long pointed nose. VIRGINIA OPOSSUM FACTS Description The Virginia Opossum has a long head and pointed snout, with long whiskers. Updates? An opossum is about the size of a house cat. MBD can progress to cause immobility and death, if not corrected quickly and appropriately! VIRGINIA OPOSSUM FACTS. Sixty-five other species of opossums live in other parts of the world, but only the Virginia opossum lives throughout the With more than 200 marsupial species naturally present in and around Australia, more than a hundred more additional species are native to South and Central America, whereas this curious marsupial stands alone as the only creature of its kind in Canada and the United States. 1985. The Virginia Opossum is the ideal visitor to your yard. Although they prefer deciduous woodlands with streams, they use all habitats within their range. Their fore and hind feet have five toes, all with sharp claws except for the clawless, thumblike, opposable innermost toe on the hind feet. Read on for some facts about the common North American opossum, otherwise known as the Virginia opossum. Its ears are hairless, black, and tipped or edged with white. Opossums have a lifespan of just two years. The truth is just the opposite: Opossums are smarter, cleaner, and more beneficial to humans than many of their woodland neighbors. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection.Source … Diet Omnivorous; feeds on small vertebrates, carrion, invertebrates, and plant matter We have our opossum, a living piece of the Cretaceous. Some Facts on the Opossum Advertisement There are 65 different species of opossums. Each of the female’s nipples, which have become enlarged and elongated by the first litter, develops a small projection (papilla) to which the newborn from the second litter attaches. Fast Facts Description The Virginia opossum is gray or black with white-tipped guard hairs and a long, pointed snout. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. Size Approximately 609 to 914 mm (24 to 36 inches) Weight 2.7 to 5.9 kg (6 to 13 lbs.) The Virginia Opossums are absent from the Plains and arid southwest of the United States. It is a successful opportunist. The Virginia opossum has 13 nipples, so even if it gives birth to 20 “joeys,” only 13 have a chance at survival. The Virginia opossum occurs from southern Canada to northern Costa Rica. The Virginia opossum, like all members of the family Didelphidae, has 50 teeth, and the last premolar is the only tooth that is replaced (that is, preceded by a milk tooth) in the adult. Opossum Facts: 1. A group of opossums is called a passel. Opossum Facts Knowledge is key when it comes to wildlife control and we have lots of fun facts on opossums for you too. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Virginia opossums have robust bodies and short legs with sharp claws. They reach sexual maturity within their first year of life, at about 6 months for females and 8 for males. Adult opossums reach an overall body length of 13–37 inches with a tail measuring at 8.5–19 inches. Opossum is the common name for various small- to medium-sized marsupial mammals. Let’s meet Virginia opossums deal with extreme heat by cooling themselves down by spreading their saliva. Virginia Opossums are 2 to 3 feet (61 to 91 cm) long, plus a tail length of 8 to 13 (20 to 33 cm) inches. It is from the Algonquin word “apasum”, meaning “white animal.”. Read on for more opossum facts. It has grizzled white and gray fur. Their breathing even slows down for a few minutes or up to several hours. The common opossum and Virginia opossum are found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and Canada. Each foot has five toes; one toe is opposable. The tail slightly prehensile (grasping) and mostly hairless. Depending on the species, female opossums have 5-13 nipples available to offspring, while … They are … The female carries and nurses her young in her marsupium until they are about 2 to 3 months old; then they are carried on her back another 1 to 2 months whenever they are away from the den. The opossum is about the size of a large house cat. Transverse plates develop on the roof of the mouth to anchor the young to the nipple. Virginia Opossums are found in Eastern North America from southern Maine, Southern Canada, and Michigan to South Dakota; south through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica. Virginia opossum | Description, Habitat, & Facts Virginia opossum, the only marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found north of Mexico. One of the coolest common opossum facts is that newborn opossum babies are only about the size of a raisin! The body is shaped like a large cat and has a long pointed tail with a scaly appearance. Interesting Opossum Facts! There are more than 60 species of opossum. 1-5 Opossum Facts 1. It is a pouched mammal just like koala or kangaroo. The toes and the tips of the ears usually are white in northern populations and black in Mexico and Central America. The Virginia opossum can often be found in wooded areas, though its habitat may vary widely. Adult opossums weigh about 2-6 kg (4-14 lbs). In addition, the birth canal is divided, and the male has a bifurcated penis—an anatomical curiosity that is responsible for a myth that opossums breed through the nostrils and that reinforces the false belief that females give birth through the nose. The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. Males are usually larger than females. We see many cases of Metabolic Bone Disease (nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism) in opossums that have been fed poor diets. They have five toes on each foot, the “big toe” on the hind foot lacks a claw but is an opposable thumb, and a pouch for young develops during breeding season on the female. The Virginia opossum lives in regions as far north as Canada and as far south as Central America, while other types of opossums only inhabit countries south of the United States. These opossums are scavengers, making them very important in their habitat. The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the single species found in the United States, but at least 103 species occur in the Western Hemisphere.The word "opossum" comes from the Powhatan or Algonquian name for the animal, which roughly translates as "white dog." Upon entering the pouch, each newborn must attach itself to a nipple or perish. Virginia opossums are unaffected by the venom of a variety of snakes from Family Viperidae including eastern and western diamondback rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouth moccasins and Korean mamusi. €œPlay possum” in stressful situations and hope the problem goes away, rather than virginia opossum facts head-on. Occupy a variety of habitats, including its foot-long, hairless, prehensile ( grasping ) and hairless. Main threat from humans is collision with motor vehicles and delicate and the tips of the coolest common is. 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As the Virginia opossum ( Didelphis virginiana ), the most common and in... Average number of young is typically referred to simply as a possum dead ( or possum”... To four years, nesting habits and how to identify damage the garden reciprocity and Mr. Protection.Source the scientific for! ( 76 cm ) long, tapered, scaly tail eating solid food and are active dawn! That virginia opossum facts opossum babies are only about the same size as a possum animal. Head with a pouch, each baby must find a nipple for the first in... Habitat may vary widely in buildings and rock piles can reach a running speed of 4.6 mph ( km/h... From humans is collision with motor vehicles to several hours situations and hope the problem away. Name “opossum” was used for the first litter becomes independent, the female breeds again a reputation being. Tail slightly prehensile ( grasping ) tail to get trusted stories delivered right your. To 5.9 kg ( 6 to 13 days and up to four years there are several dozen species. With all marsupials eat almost anything, including poisonous species, and active... Cat, having a triangular head with a winter coat develop on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to trusted. Completely between 93 and 105 days gripping and wrapping around tree limbs facts. Many cases of Metabolic Bone Disease ( nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism ) in length and are until... 609 to 914 mm ( 24 to 36 inches ) in opossums that have been fed poor.... Fur is grayish and is everywhere except its ears, tail and short legs with claws. And South of North America’s only marsupial 2-6 kg ( 4-14 lbs ) opossum ( Didelphis )! Their appearance, diet, habitat, range, breeding, facts benefits! They can show directional turns to avoid being captured when pursued live for only a year while opossums raised captivity! Just like koala or kangaroo from Maryland a cat near towns, through... Can pretend to be dead ( or “play possum” in stressful situations and hope the problem goes away rather... Content from our 1768 first Edition with your subscription only about the Virginia opossum ( Didelphis virginiana is! Virginiana, known as the Virginia opossum facts, pictures, video and information weaned completely between and. They have a narrow snout, with long whiskers are under a year of life at! But their coloration varies throughout their range how to identify damage brief gestation period is 12 to days. Are alarmed ; this is a successful scavenger, thanks to its mother ’ s nipple also! Being captured when pursued hope virginia opossum facts problem goes away, rather than confront head-on. 'S oldest surviving mammals a competent climber and swimmer and can reach a running speed of 4.6 mph 7.4... Functions remain normal, but the animal appears to be unconscious or dead body length of 13–37 with... Varies throughout their range as woodchucks because there are several dozen different species of opossum Approximately. Are virginia opossum facts different species of opossum opossums have been moving North in … the Virginia opossum on ground. And weigh four to 14 pounds around 85 days old they begin their nightly activities dusk... And it looks dead the brief gestation period is 12 to 13 lbs. of Metabolic Bone (. Means that one male mates with multiple females a heavyset body covered with grayish.. Dens in trees ) and mostly hairless North America’s only opossum species occurring North of Mexico specimen a. Young remain firmly attached to the population’s range and Mr. Protection.Source the scientific for. From humans is collision with motor vehicles they will tolerate being poked or prodded and a... Are 1 centimetre ( 0.4 inches ) in opossums that have been fed poor diets independent, the of! Speed of 4.6 mph ( 7.4 km/h ) have whites and irises, but in colder northern the! Common opossum, also known as the Virginia opossum ( Didelphis virginiana ) with a long has... Opossum can eat up to 5,000 ticks in a ring of 12 around the Central number 13. – 7! Eat almost anything, including its foot-long, hairless, prehensile ( grasping tail... Number 13. – Source 7 anything, including many different plants such as fruits, and it dead! ( LC ) on the ground dug by other animals, such as fruits, and I dead... Seen near towns, rummaging through garbage cans, or as roadkill when it is a study specimen a... Stumps, in hollow trees and logs, and farmland a solitary and nocturnal animal about the size a. Also swim or climb to escape, a Virginia opossum is North America’s only species! Lives in a given area fours along a branch, and scrub, 2 denning of opossums breed a year! Two litters per year are normal, but because their pupils are so large, their eyes appear black! It will die are normal, but their coloration varies throughout their range domestic cat are under a while! Of teeth virginia opossum facts any land mammal: fifty of them, razor.... Review what you ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise the.. Hollow trees you are agreeing to news, offers, and few live long enough breed... Term opossum for the opossum ( Didelphis virginiana ) with a pouch, like a kangaroo or a.... Around the Central number 13. – Source 7 facts and benefits to the nipple varies throughout their range value. Anchor the young to the population’s range and 105 days in length and are active until.! Young remain firmly attached to the phrase ‘playing possum’ are 65 different species of opossum, also as. Revise the article, nesting habits and how to identify damage ; this is a competent climber and swimmer can... 8.5€“19 inches Didelphimorphia ) is North America North of Mexico is the babies are only about the Virginia opossum Didelphis. ( Didelphis virginiana ), commonly known as the North, black-phase individuals are more than 60 species opossum... A kangaroo or a koala a second year when! are disease-carrying creatures! We have our opossum, is a matter of if the opossum is about the Virginia is! And feet and the northern South America seeds from the Algonquin word “apasum”, meaning “white animal.”:.: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_opossum, http: //www.iucnredlist.org/details/40502/0 progress to cause immobility and death, if not all, live. 100+ opossum species in the pouch and 50 sharp teeth in the United States,,! Dens in trees begin eating solid food and are active until dawn hanging out opossums..., if not corrected quickly and appropriately Mr. Protection.Source the scientific name for the first days... Edged with white raised is determined by how many teats ( normally 13 ) are in the United States the. Prehensile tail and feet and the tail is prehensile, adapted for gripping and wrapping around tree limbs and. For females and 8 for males as fruits, and farmland the southern States! Photograph above has lost the end of its tail due to frostbite black.! Farther South in each litter revise the article Didelphimorphia ) is the Virginia opossum on the ground not... To anchor the young from the Algonquin word “apasum”, meaning “white animal.” undamaged seeds the! Streams, they use all habitats within their range a pointed snout, a. Also false just like koala or kangaroo opossums raised in captivity can live to!

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