Opossum

 

  1. Opossums usually have 15-20 inches in length and weigh between 4-12 pounds.
  2. Male opossums are called jacks and females are called jills. Baby opossums are called joeys.
  3. Opossums are marsupials that has a ratlike prehensile tail and hind feet with an opposable thumb.
  4. Based on fossil records, opossums are very old animals and one of the oldest types of mammals.  They were present on the Earth at the same time when dinosaurs lived.
  5. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur. In rare occasions it can be black, brown or albino colored.
  6. Long tail helps them in climbing, but they can’t hang from the branch using their tail only (like Eddie & Crash in the Ice Age movie ).
  7. Opossums have more teeth than other mammals. They have 50 teeth!
  8. They are omnivores (eat plants and animals). Insects are usually on their menu, but they also like reptiles, amphibians, eggs, fruit, and berries. They often dig trash cans to find some food. Since they eat carrion, dead animal on the road can be a perfect meal for them.
  9. Main predators of opossums are dogs, foxes, coyotes, hawks and owls. They also die in car accidents, by parasites and diseases.
  10. Opossums can survive bite of the poisonous snake. They are immune to rabies and have better immune system than most mammals (don’t get sick often).
  11. They are not territorial. They move constantly and search for food on different locations. Opossums don’t dig holes, they use abandoned dens and shelters.
  12. Opossums are nocturnal animals (they hunt at night). They have poor eyesight and sense of hearing, so they need to rely on their sense of smell during the hunt. Luckily, their sense of smell is excellent.
  13. A group of opossums is called a passel.
  14. They have sharp claws that can be used against predators, but they have another more efficient technique that can help them survive dangerous situation. They pretend to be dead! Most animals avoid eating carrion and they will rather leave dead animal untouched. Opossums can lay motionless from one minute to 6 hours.
  15. Males produce specific sounds to attract females. After mating, it takes only 14 days for young opossums to be born.
  16. At birth, they are small as honeybees. One litter usually consists of 20 babies. Only few babies survive. So sad. 🙁
  17. Babies crawl to mother’s pouch and stay there until they are fully developed. After 67 days, they can leave the pouch for the first time. After 75 days, they are ready to eat solid food. While they are young, mother carries her babies on her back during the hunt.
  18. Opossums live up to 2 years in the wild and up to 4 years in captivity.