Opossum animal

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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Infraclass: Marsupialia
  • SuperOrder: Ameridelphia
  • Order: Didelphimorphia
  • Family: Didelphidae
  • Conservation status: Not Evaluated
  • Height: 15 - 45 cm (6 - 18in)
  • Weight: 1 - 6 kg (2 - 13 lbs)
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Speed: 25 km/h (15 mph)
  • Predators: Fox, Cat, Birds of Prey
  • Sexual Maturity: about 1 year
  • Gestation Period: up to 2 weeks
  • Lifespan: 2 - 4 years
  • Litter size: 6-12 babies, up to 20
  • Distinctive Feature: Sharp claws and long prehensile tail.
opossum animal

Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are the largest marsupials in the Western Hemisphere. They are also called "possum". The Virginia Opossum was the first opossum animal named in 1610. Opossum has its roots in the word "aposoum" which means "white beast ".

Food Opossum

Opossums are omnivorous animals and have a highly diversified diet. They feed on insects, frogs, birds, snakes, small mammals, etc. They eat fruits and other foods around households and sometimes scrap waste.

Appearance Opossum

They are small and medium sized marsupials, with specimens from the size of a mouse to the size of a normal house cat. Opossums are animals that live in trees, some species are omnivores, and others vegetarians. The incisors are very small but they have large canines. They use all legs when moving. The opposable thumb has no claw. Only females have a pouch. Opossums have an enviable immune system.

Opossums are partial or total immune to snake venom (rattlesnakes or other vipers). The chance of getting ill, compared to a dog, is 800 times lower.

Some Subspecies:

Behavior Opossum

Opossums are usually solitary, they stay in an area as long as they have food or water available. They temporarily occupy abandoned burrows and do not make big efforts in digging too much. They are nocturnal animals and prefer dark areas. These areas may be below ground level.

When they are in danger or they feel threatened they behave like a sick or dead animal and spread in the air the scent of a corpse. The lips are drawn back, teeth pushed out and the unpleasant smell is released from the anal glands. Cubs may hang from the tail, adults can’t because they’re too heavy. In defense, besides flaunting their teeth they make a whistle sound to intimidate the enemy.

Reproduction Opossum

Like all marsupials possums have a reproduction cycle similar to that of a kangaroo. Cubs are born early after a gestation period of only 12-14 days. Once born, the cubs need to find their way to the pouch. Sexual dimorphism is clearly seen from the beginning. Males are larger, heavier and have larger canines than females. Couples mate several times. This increases the likelihood of fertilization.

Females give birth to a large number of cubs, sometimes even 13, depending on the species. Cubs are weaned after 70 up to 125 days.

Life is unusually short for a mammal of this size, only 2-6 years.

Did you know that:

The opossum is an animal with thick fur and very small feet that have something in common with people, five fingers.

The opossum has the shortest gestation period, about 12 weeks.

Pictures Opossum animal

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