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Opossum


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North American Opossum with winter coat.
Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) in a juniper tree in northeastern Ohio.
Young Opossum
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.

The opossum is often referred to as a possum, although there is no direct link between the possums of Australia and the opossum of America. The opossum is the only species of marsupial that is found outside of Australia an it's surrounding islands.

The opossum is found inhabiting areas of grassland, farmland and woodland in North America. The opossum is also found in urban areas where the opossum can be a pest as it feeds on rubbish, and food that it finds lying around. The opossum is generally found in areas that are close to water.

The opossum is known to be one of the world's animals that carries rabies and the opossum is much more likely to have the disease than any other animal. Opossums are also thought to have some immunity towards the venom of certain snakes such as pit vipers and rattlesnakes.

The opossum is an omnivorous animal and will eat almost anything that it can find. Opossums mainly feed on insects, frogs, birds, snakes, small mammals, and earthworms. The opossum is also a great scavenger and will feed on left over kills of other animals along with road-kill.

The opossum has a number of natural predators in it's environment although the main predators of the opossum are birds of prey such as owls and eagles, dogs, foxes and cats. Humans are one of the main predators of the opossum as they hunt them for meat but the opossum is also commonly killed on the roads by cars.

As with all marsupials, the female opossum has a pouch in which it rears it's young. The opossum gives birth to as many as 15 babies, which are born in just a couple of weeks. After birth, the opossum babies, crawl up into their mother's pouch where they continue to grow and develop until they are a couple of months old.

The opossum is an animal that is not threatened with extinction although due to deforestation and habitat loss, opossums are becoming increasingly common in urban and suburban areas.


Opossum Comments (6)

Anonymous

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Anonymous 2

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V.P.

"Thank You for your informative article ...This morning driving I found one in the middle of the road,in Palm Beach,Fl.First tiem I saw such animal ...He was live and walking very slow ...like he was eating something ...His mouth was full of blood ..."

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Opossum Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things...
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum...
Mammalia
Order:
A group of animals within a class...
Didelphimorphia
Family:
A group of animals within an order...
Didelphidae
Genus:
A group of animals within a family...
Didelphis
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Didelphis Virginiana
Type:
The animal group that the species belongs to...
Mammal
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Omnivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
15-45cm (5.9-18in)
Weight:
The measurement of how heavy the animal is...
0.5-6kg (1.1-13lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal...
25km/h (15mph)
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for...
2-7 years
Lifestyle:
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable...
Solitary
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
Least Concern
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Black, Brown, White, Grey
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Fur
Favourite Food:Fruit
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives...
Forest and farmland close to water
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once...
6
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Fruit, Insects, Frogs
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Fox, Cat, Birds of Prey
Special Features:Long prehensile tail and sharp claws

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