Virginia opossums deal with extreme heat by cooling themselves down by spreading their saliva. Rare in the north, black-phase individuals are more common in the southern United States and farther south. The fur is grayish and is everywhere except its ears, tail and feet. It has a long, prehensile tail and short legs with sharp claws. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The size of a house cat, males average about 3 kg (6.6 pounds), females about 2 kg (4.4 pounds). 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. A marsupial is an animal with a pouch, like a kangaroo or a koala. Corrections? Virginia opossums have robust bodies and short legs with sharp claws. The nocturnal Virginia Opossum, or North American Opossum, is the only marsupial to be found naturally occurring in the New World north of Mexico. 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. There are no major threats to this species. The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. In some areas they can be trapped or hunted by humans but the main threat from humans is collision with motor vehicles. Their prepared habitat is wooded or shrubby. Opossum Waleed-July 10, 2018 0 The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is North Americaâs only marsupial. Its ears, eyes, eye rings, and feet and the basal one-third to one-half of the naked tail are black. 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. By eating carrion, the risk of disease spreading in the area is lowered. The Virginia opossum has a total of 50 teeth, more than any other North American mammal. 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. Omissions? One of the coolest common opossum facts is that newborn opossum babies are only about the size of a raisin! 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. MBD can progress to cause immobility and death, if not corrected quickly and appropriately! Thereafter, until weaned and independent, the young either travel in the pouch or cling to the fur of their mother’s back. We have our opossum, a living piece of the Cretaceous. An individual will curl up with its mouth open, tongue hanging out, and it looks dead. 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. Each foot has five toes; one toe is opposable. Although they prefer deciduous woodlands with streams, they use all habitats within their range. Virginia opossum, (Didelphis virginiana), the only marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found north of Mexico. 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 animal lives in a wide range of habitats, including open woods, deciduous forests, and farmland. During this behavior the animal becomes motionless, this may last as little as a minute, or it may There is a formidable array of some 50 small, sharp teeth in the mouth. …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...…. It is also found in Mexico and Central America. In the United States, the animal is typically referred to simply as a possum. The Virginia Opossum is the ideal visitor to your yard. The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the single species found in the United States, but at least 103 species â¦ 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. Opossums have a lifespan of just two years. The exaggerated pupil dilation is â¦ https://www.britannica.com/animal/Virginia-opossum, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - North American Mammals - Virginia Opossum. Virginia Opossum Fun Facts. 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. Each pouch young remains firmly attached to the nipple for the first 50–55 days of life. 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." Virginia Opossum on The IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_opossum, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40502/0. Opossum eyes do have whites and irises, but because their pupils are so large, their eyes appear completely black from a distance. North Americaâs 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; 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. General Facts » They have a number of distinguishing characteristics that are typically unknown to â¦ Scientists estimate that a single opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks in 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. It is not a matter of IF the opossum will become ill, it is a matter of when!. Size Approximately 609 to 914 mm (24 to 36 inches) Weight 2.7 to 5.9 kg (6 to 13 lbs.) A group of opossums is called a passel. Nor does it dig or claw. The Virginia opossum can often be found in wooded areas, though its habitat may vary widely. They are important as seed dispersers, redistributing undamaged seeds from the genera Diospyros and Asimina, among others. Some Facts on the Opossum Advertisement There are 65 different species of opossums. The Virginia Opossums are absent from the Plains and arid southwest of the United States. They will tolerate being poked or prodded and even bitten by an animal without reacting. Gestation period is 12 â 14 days. 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. Sometimes they will eat garbage and carrion. Opossums are optimistic omnivores cleaning up our environment each night of trash, road kill, even keeping those pesky rodents and â¦ Virginia Opossum Reproduction Virginia Opossums mate both in late winter and in springtime. 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. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing. Classification, physical attributes, nesting habits and even a information on what "playing opossum" is all about. The life span of Virginia opossums is short. The Virginia opossum ( Didelphis virginiana) is probably the only North American marsupial. Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. Their fore and hind feet have five toes, all with sharp claws except for the clawless, thumblike, opposable innermost toe on the hind feet. It is a successful opportunist. The only opossum species occurring north of Mexico is the. Letâs meet The Virginia possum is well-known for playing dead when it is threatened. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. Opossums grow to about 25 to 40 inches in length and weigh four to 14 pounds. Virginia opossums change their denning sites often. They are about the same size as a large house cat, having a triangular head with a long pointed nose. Amongst their fur are long white-tipped guard hairs. They begin their nightly activities at dusk and are active until dawn. 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. On entering the pouch, each baby must find a nipple and attach itself or it will die. When startled or frightened, opossums can pretend to be dead (or âplay possumâ). 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. POSTURE. They have five toes on each foot, the âbig toeâ on the hind foot lacks a claw but is an opposable thumb, and a pouch for young develops during breeding season on the female. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage. The average number of young is typically 7 or 8. They are â¦ It is a pouched mammal just like koala or kangaroo. The fur is pale grey with white cheeks. It is familiar to many North Americans as they frequently inhabit settled areas due to the associated proximity to food sources, notably trash cans. The body is shaped like a large cat and has a long pointed tail with a scaly appearance. They only remain in one den for a long period when weaning young. The Virginia opossum has 13 nipples, so even if it gives birth to 20 âjoeys,â only 13 have a chance at survival. The pouch young remain firmly attached to a nipple for their first 50 to 55 days. 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. The Virginia opossum. It has grizzled white and gray fur. Opossum's are far more interesting than most people give them credit for. Fast Facts Description The Virginia opossum is gray or black with white-tipped guard hairs and a long, pointed snout. Although they are still trapped, their fur has a low market value. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection.Source The Virginia Opossum has long been found in much of what is now Central America, Meâ¦ Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). This play can enable the opossum to escape predation, as most predators do not eat carrion. The Virginia opossum was once widely hunted and consumed in â¦ 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. The toes and the tips of the ears usually are white in northern populations and black in Mexico and Central America. Diet Omnivorous; feeds on small vertebrates, carrion, invertebrates, and plant matter Sixty-five other species of opossums live in other parts of the world, but only the Virginia opossum lives throughout the Lifespan. The Virginia opossum can often be found in wooded areas, though its habitat may vary widely. Meet the virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) including their appearance, diet, habitat, range, breeding, facts and behavior. This is a study specimen of a juvenile opossum. These opossums are scavengers, making them very important in their habitat. The Didelphis Virginiana, known as the Virginia Opossum is North America's only marsupial. 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). But they can show directional turns to avoid being captured when pursued. Opossums are good to have around. The common opossum, also known as the Virginia opossum, is a somewhat maligned but fascinating creature. Though they aren't picky about where they hang out, opossums love trees and will stay aloft in trees as much as possible. Fast facts about the only native North Amercian marsupial, the Virginia opossum North America's only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. There are more than 60 species of opossum. In that sense, Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are perfectly suited for life in the city.They avoid unwanted attention by foraging primarily at night. The opossum is about the size of a large house cat. opossum rabies. Most body functions remain normal, but the animal appears to be unconscious or dead. However, the total number that can be raised is determined by how many teats (normally 13) are in the pouch. I have listed my Top 7 Opossum facts about â¦ The opossum has been around for at least 70 million years and is one of Earth's oldest surviving mammals! VIRGINIA OPOSSUM FACTS Description The Virginia Opossum has a long head and pointed snout, with long whiskers. Virginia Opossum Facts: Feigning death. Transverse plates develop on the roof of the mouth to anchor the young to the nipple. The Virginia Opossum is about 2.5 feet (76 cm) long, including its foot-long, hairless, prehensile (grasping) tail. 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. It has a triangular head and a long pointed nose. Gestation is 12–13 days. They are very good climbers and may establish their dens in trees. The brief gestation period is 12 to 13 days and up to 25 young may be produced in each litter. Females carry their young in a fur-lined pouch. Their breathing even slows down for a few minutes or up to several hours. Populations in western Canada and along the Pacific coast south to northern Baja California, Mexico, originated as introductions from the eastern United States. Virginia opossums are famous for entering a catatonic state when they are alarmed; this is commonly known as âgoing opossumâ. Interesting Facts About the Opossum Opossums, the only naturally occurring marsupial in North America, are incredibly interesting creatures. An opossum is about the size of a house cat. The opossum has a heavyset body covered with grayish fur. The common opossum is found in Central America and the northern South America. Adult opossums weigh about 2-6 kg (4-14 lbs). Depending on the species, female opossums have 5-13 nipples available to offspring, while â¦ The opossum in the photograph above has lost the end of its tail due to frostbite. Virginia opossums may have a better chance of survival in urban environments partially because there are fewer predators. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Their underfur is usually whitish and tipped in black, but their coloration varies throughout their range. Virginia opossums can walk on all fours along a branch, and then sit up and support themselves on their hindquarters. The name âopossumâ was used for the first time in western culture in 1608 by Captain John Smith. The truth is just the opposite: Opossums are smarter, cleaner, and more beneficial to humans than many of their woodland neighbors. 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 donât hibernate but do reduce activity during the coldest seasons. Virginia opossums eat almost anything, including fruit, insects, earthworms, eggs, nestlings, birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, and carrion. The tail slightly prehensile (grasping) and mostly hairless. Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. The oldest documented free-living Virginia opossum was a three-year-old male from Maryland. 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. Description The Virginia Opossum has a long head and pointed snout, with long whiskers. Their ears are large and delicate and the tail is prehensile, adapted for gripping and wrapping around tree limbs. Read on for some facts about the common North American opossum, otherwise known as the Virginia opossum. It prefers wet areas like swamps, marshes and streams. These marsupials are great climbers. 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. VIRGINIA OPOSSUM FACTS. 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