The Opossum belongs to the order Didelphimorphia. Opossums are marsupials that weigh about 5 pounds when fully grown. Opossums are omnivorous.
Opossum reproductive systems are extremely basic, with a reduced marsupium. This means that the young are born at a very early stage. The adult males usually are slightly larger than females.
Originally native to the eastern United States, the Virginia Opossum was intentionally introduced into the west during the Great Depression, probably as a source of food. The Opposums range has been expanding steadily northwards, thanks in part to more plentiful, man-made sources of fresh water, increased shelter from urban encroachment, and milder winters. Its range has extended into Ontario, Canada, and it has been found farther north than Toronto.
Opossums they will use abandoned burrows but they do not dig burrows themselves. When threatened or harmed, they will play dead. The scientific communtity has shown that this isn't actually a conscious act by the Opossum or should I say isn't and act at all. The Opossum when scared actually faints or passes out mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. The lips are drawn back, teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands.
The opossum before "playing possum" will make a horrible hissing sound and bear its teeth. During the bluff it is said that you can do whatever you want, even putting something in the animals mouth and it will not bite!
Adult opossums do not hang from trees by their tails as is often depicted in childrens books although babies may dangle temporarily. Their prehensile tails simply are not strong enough to support a mature adult's weight. A mother opossum will sometimes carry her young upon her back, where they will cling tightly even when she is running across the ground or climbing.
Here is one very interesting fact. Opossums have a remarkably robust immune system, and show partial or total immunity to the venom of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and other pit vipers. Thanks to their lower blood temperature, rabies is almost unknown in opossums.
The opossum was once a favorite game animal in the United States where they were commonly hunted along side racoons for food. The meat is light and fine grained and the musk glands must be removed as part of preparation. The meat can be used in place of rabbit and chicken in recipes. Today the Opossum doesn't hold much esteem or food value although some incedental harvest mainly by racoon hunters does still occur.
Want To Advertise Here? Send us an email!