Scientific Name: Didelphis Virginiana
Size: 15-45cm (5.9-18in)
Weight: 0.5-6kg (1.1-13lbs)
Top Speed: 25km/h (15mph)
Life Span: 2-7 years
Group name: Passel
There are more than 60 different species of opossum, which are often called possums. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum, the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada.
What does a opossum look like?
The opossum is about the size of a cat (4 - 14 pounds) and has rough grayish-black fur. It has a white face, a pink nose, and a long hairless, pink tail. This animal is well-known for “playing possum” or pretending to be dead when it is in danger.
Where do opossums live?
These animals are widespread and are sometimes hunted as food, particularly in the southern United States. The opossum is a medium-sized animal that is found inhabiting farmland and forested areas of North America. The opossum is thought to have evolved from the basic marsupials that lived in the jungles of South America.
What does a opossum eat?
Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. They are attracted to carrion and can often be spotted near roadkill. Opossums also eat grass, nuts, and fruit. They will hunt mice, birds, insects, worms, snakes, and even chickens.
What are the natural enemies of the opossum?
These animals are most famous for "playing possum." When threatened by dogs, foxes, or bobcats, opossums sometimes flop onto their sides and lie on the ground with their eyes closed or staring fixedly into space. They extend their tongues and generally appear to be dead. This ploy may put a predator off its guard and allow the opossum an opportunity to make its escape.
Can opossums climb?
Opossums are excellent tree climbers and spend much of their time aloft. They are aided in this by sharp claws, which dig into bark, and by a long prehensile (gripping) tail that can be used as an extra limb. Opossums nest in tree holes or in dens made by other animals.
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