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Possum

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Possum 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
Diprotodontia
Family:
A group of animals within an order
Phalangeriformes
Genus:
A group of animals within a family
Phalangeridae
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Phalangeriforme
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
5-120cm (1.9-47in)
Weight:
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
0.1-14.5kg (0.22-32lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
25km/h (15mph)
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for
5-8 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
Tan, Black, Brown, White, Grey
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Fur
Favourite Food:Insects
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives
Bushland and rainforest
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
2
Main Prey:Insects, Leaves, Flowers
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Fox, Cat, Birds of Prey
Special Features:Long prehensile tail and sharp claws

Possum Location

Map of Possum Locations
Map of Oceania

Possum

The possum is a medium-sized marsupial that is natively found in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi, which is a tropical island found in the Indonesian Archipelago. Today the possum has also been introduced to New Zealand and parts of China.

There are 69 different species of possum found in the far east, all of which range of size and colour. The pygmy possum is the smallest species of possum in the world, growing to just 10cm tall, where the brushtail possum can reach more than a meter in height.

In general, the possum is roughly the same size and weight of a domestic cat. The possum is not to be confused with the opossum, which is found in North America and is the only marsupial which inhabits areas outside of Australia and it's surrounding islands.

Possums tend to be found inhabiting bush-lands and rainforests where the possums live in hollow trees and logs. The possum lives a predominantly arboreal lifestyle meaning that the possum spends most of it's time in the trees.

Possums are nocturnal animals and therefore, the possum only hunts for food in the cover of the night. The possum spends the lighter daytimes, resting in hollow trees out of site from predators.

Possums have long prehensile tails, which are naked on the underside which gives the possum more grip when it is in the trees. Possums also have sharp claws which enable them to climb up tree trunks more easily.

Possums are omnivorous animals so possums naturally eat a variety of both plants and other animals. Possums feed on almost anything they can find including insects, leaves, flowers, nectar, fruits and even small mammals, birds and reptiles.

The possum has a number of predators in the wild, which vary depending on the region which the possum inhabits. Foxes, cats and birds of prey are the main predators of the possum but other animals such as Tasmanian devils, dogs, dingos and snakes also prey on the possum.

The possum is a very solitary animal, and possum individuals only really come together to mate. The possum is thought to breed throughout the year rather than having a strict breeding season. The female possum gives birth to between 2 and 4 baby possums after a gestation period of just a couple of weeks. As with all marsupials, the female possum has a pouch on her tummy which the new born possum babies crawl into and stay until they are bigger, less vulnerable and able to start feeding themselves. Typically only one of the possum babies will survive and emerge from the pouch after 6 or 7 months.

In some areas, the possum is seen to be a pest as they are known to hunt in urban waste and compost bins in search of food. Possums are generally considered to not be threatened with extinction, although some of the rarer species of possum, such as the cuscus, are threatened animals or even considered to be endangered.

Possum Comments

ashlyn
"they are GREAT by the I am 8.thanks for the pic."
Piglover
"Its so cute! Helped me out with my project! "
Piglover
"Its so cute!"
Ruby
"Some species can be quite cute but some can be scarily ugy"
Lauren
"They're like hamsters"
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First Published: 13th October 2009, Last Updated: 9th January 2017 [View Sources]

Sources:
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 13 Oct 2009]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2010]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 13 Oct 2009]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 13 Oct 2009]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 13 Oct 2009]

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