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.