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The Virginia opossum is north America"s only marsupial. A marsupial is an animal with a pouch. The opossum has actually been around for at least 70 million years and is among Earth"s oldest surviving mammals! image Credit: nationwide Park Service" image="image1">
The Virginia opossum is around the dimension of a huge house cat. It has actually a triangle head and a long, sharp nose. It has actually grayish hair everywhere but on its ears, feet, and also tail. It has a prehensile tail. A prehensile tail is adjusted for grasping and also wrapping roughly things like tree limbs. The opossum deserve to hang native its tail for a quick time. Some world think opossums hang from their tails and also sleep. Lock don"t. Their tails aren"t solid enough to hold them for that long!
The opossum has actually opposable hallux. Hallux are clawless huge toes that work-related like thumbs. The hallux help the Virginia opossum seize branches as soon as it climbs. The opossum doesn"t hibernate in the winter, yet it often holes increase during an extremely cold weather due to the fact that it runs the threat of gaining frostbite top top its hairless ears, tail, and also toes.


The Virginia opossum is uncovered in many of the joined States eastern of the Rocky Mountains and also on the West Coast. That is additionally found in Mexico, main America, and also in brother Columbia .


The Virginia opossum resides in a wide range of habitats including deciduous forests, open woods, and farmland. It has tendency to choose wet areas like marshes, swamps, and also streams.

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The Virginia opossum is nocturnal and uses the keen sense of odor to find food. That is omnivorous and also eats just about anything, consisting of lots of different plants and animals favor fruits, insects, and other little animals. Sometimes, the eats garbage and also carrion, or dead animals. Due to the fact that so much carrion is roadkill, opossums are frequently killed by car while looking for food on roadways.

Did girlfriend Know?
The name "opossum" was very first used in western society by Captain john Smith in 1608. It originates from the Powhatan name apasum, which means "white animal."

Life Cycle

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A Virginia opossum female may have actually as countless as 25 babies, however she usually has actually 7-8. The factor opossums have so many babies to insure that some of them survive. Like many marsupials, opossums space very tiny when they space born - around the dimension of a bean.

The babies climb up the mother"s fur and into her pouch whereby they discover a teat. Some babies perform not discover their way to the pouch and also die. If they do it come the pouch, just babies who discover one of the thirteen teats survive. They remain in the pouch and suckle for 55-60 days. Climate they relocate out of the pouch and also spend another four to 6 weeks on your mother"s back. In some parts of your range, females have three litters a year.


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The Virginia opossum has many behavior adaptations it uses to survive. When threatened, that exhibits behaviors like running, growling, belching, urinating, and also even defecating. Occasionally it "plays possum" and also rolls over, becomes stiff, and also drools. The breathing becomes slow and also shallow.

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This coma-like state can last increase to 4 hours. Part predators will think the opossum is dead and go away!