Over the years we have shared numerous pictures of our opossums
We have Virginia Opossums here at the Museum. They are the only marsupial in North America! There are 80 other species of opossum that live in South America and Australia. Fossils from opossums have been found dating back 65 million years!!
The Virginia Opossum lives only 2-4 years. During this very short lifespan it is constantly on the move for food and doesn’t have a territory. With 50 teeth they eat everything from slugs to berries and cat food to roaches. They have an opposable thumb on their back feet as well as a prehensile tail- everything you need to be aboreal. They are also noctural, often nest in tree hollows and can play “dead” as a defense. Opossums are far more resistant to rabies than any other animal. Females give birth 13 days after mating- the tiny baby has to make its way from the birth canal to its mother’s pouch. There it stays for 2-3 months and then spends another 1-2 riding on mom’s back before it’s ready to be on its own. Females can give birth up to twice a year.
Here are just a few species from Australia and South America:
Brush Tailed Opossum can live up to 11 years and gives birth to one young at a time
Ring Tailed Opossums have a specialized digestive system and eat leaves- even eucalyptus leaves.
Pygmy Opossums are nectar and insect eaters and are even know to torpor
Fat Tailed Mouse Opossum who’s tail thickens seasonally due to the storage of fat