If looks could kill, opossums would be some of the fiercest predators. An opossum's tail makes up 1/3 of its body length. It’s an impressive defensive mechanism, but its effectiveness can’t be chalked up to the possum’s acting skills. Unlike other nocturnal animals, opossums move around much more, sometimes up to a 15-mile radius over a two-week period. To get the full experience, you need to be standing over to it to smell the putrid odor it emits when pretending to be a corpse. Opossums and T. Rexes were prehistoric neighbors. One of the opossum’s most recognizable features is its pair of opaque eyes. 3"Opossum: Didelphis virginiana." They're not pigs. In rare occasions it can be black, brown or albino colored. A typical giant panda spends over half of its day eating. When opossums play dead, they also secrete a bad smell and foam at the mouth to make themselves appear like a real dead animal to predators. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage. Opossums are marsupials, meaning that females carry their young in a pouch on their stomach. Accessed: March 30, 2019. OPOSSUMS AND POSSUMS AREN’T THE SAME ANIMAL. They can have fleas and drop flea larvae and eggs in … Interesting Facts About Possums & Opossums in this blog. Marsupials—mammals that carry and nurse their young in pouches—are... 3. Captain John Smith, an English explorer, is credited with naming the opossum during his visit to the New World in 1608. They will flop down and be very still with their tongue hanging out to trick predators. That said, this humble and homely little mammal is actually far more interesting than you'd think. They are light gray in color and basically look like big rats. The most common brushtail possum was first introduced to New Zealand and Australia for the fur trade. OTHER COOL OPOSSUM FACTS: They have 50 teeth (the most of any other mammal)! The opportunistic critter can eat anything and hisses to defend itself All Gods CreaturesCute CreaturesBeautiful CreaturesAnimals BeautifulAnimals AmazingBeautiful ImagesAnimals And PetsBaby AnimalsFunny Animals Even when confronted with a predator, they will use the infamous "playing possum" technique to... 2. Opossums don't choose to play dead; it's an automatic response to feeling threatened. While most animals look at a snake and see danger, a possum sees its next meal. Opossum Facts for Kids. A few years ago, a team of scientists made progress on this front when they recreated a peptide found in possums and and found that mice given the peptide and rattlesnake venom were successfully protected from the venom’s harmful effects. 5"What's the Difference between 'Possum' and 'Opossum'?" They’re often thought of as dimwitted, dirty creatures whose most impressive trick is acting like roadkill. They can also recall the smell of toxic substances up to a year after trying them. Sometimes this trick will allow opossums to escape. Relax with our fun dog facts to learn how these adorable animals became our best friends and if they really love us as much as we love them. Opossums gestate for less than two weeks before being born. 13 Interesting Facts About Opossums 1. Opossums are sometimes called "Nature's Little Sanitation Engineers," since they often eat dead things and, by doing so, rid their habitats of disease. They were present on the Earth at the same time when dinosaurs lived. Learn more about the beloved black and white omnivore with interesting and cute panda facts. Since then, their appearance has not changed much. The name "possum" is a misnomer. We get it; these critters make Norwegian rats look like beauty-pageant winners. Browse through our fun and interesting guinea pigs facts to find out! Dictionary.com: Everything after Z. Accessed: March 30, 2019. Accessed: March 30, 2019. They're actually called "opossums" Imgur/RoadTripped. Like other marsupials, opossums have thumbs, called an opposable hallux, on their paws. Usually they have 53 to 90 centimeters (21 to 35 inches) in length (including tail) and weigh between 1.8 and 6.8 kilograms (4 and 15 pounds). All rights reserved. 13 Facts About Opossums 1. Opossums communicate with each other through scent glands; males emit a special odor in order to begin mating with females, and glands in a female's pouch help baby joeys find their way inside after birth. It is the second-largest of the possums, weighing 2.6 to 9.9 pounds (1.2 to 4.5 kilograms). "A Fast Life and Success That Starts in the Pouch." We have our opossum, a living piece of the Cretaceous. Marsupials first evolved during the age of the dinosaurs, and fossil evidence suggests that opossums have very similar features to those earliest pouch-havers. POPULAR POSTS. The opportunistic critter can eat anything and hisses to defend itself 6"What to Do about Opossums." Possums numbers reached their highest point in the 1980s when there were 50—70 million possums in New Zealand. [1] Opossums have the most teeth of any North American mammal—a set of 50! The Living Fossil The opossum is the Earth's oldest surviving mammal. These thumbs are on the back feet as well as on the front feet. The brushtail possum (Trichosurus Vulpecula) is one of the largest possums in the world—second only to Virginia possum.The possum lives in Australia. The Humane Society of the United States. Researchers found that possums are better at remembering which runway led to a tasty treat than rats, cats, dogs, and pigs. Are Possums Nocturnal? Opossums range in size from that of a small mouse to the size of a large housecat. The animals are immune to the venom of nearly every type of snake found in their native range, the one exception being the coral snake. Thank you for listening. The Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecular, from Greek and Latin, which means “furry tailed little fox”) is a nocturnal, semi-tree dwelling marsupial in the Phalangeridae family. Is a Possum Nocturnal? 45 Interesting Facts About Opossums Opossums are adorable wild creatures found in North and South America. Opossum eyes do have whites and irises, but because their pupils are so large, their eyes appear completely black from a distance. Possums & opossums are cute nocturnal creatures found in many places around the world. Female opossums are called jills. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. The Brushtail Possum changes in colour and size depending on where they live. What's the Difference between 'Possum' and 'Opossum'? Opossums that live in captivity can survive on dog or cat food. Among the most well known of their respective types are the Virginia opossum and the brushtail possum. Possums Possums are a suborder of 70 tree-living marsupial species native to Australia and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea and Sulawesi. 2Krause, William J., and Winifred A. Krause. Joeys grow to full maturity about eight months after they're born. Opossums are one of a handful of animals with prehensile tails. Even if possums aren’t the cutest creatures in the forest, they should be a welcome addition to your backyard. Opossums are the only marsupials that are native to North America. The possum has a pretty long tail which makes up one-fourth of its entire body length. Opossum Society of the United States. 4"Reproduction—Life Cycle." That means the more possums that are in your area, the fewer ticks you’ll encounter. Despite the potential for confusion, possum is accepted as the shortened version of opossum in this part of the world (and if you see the word possum in this list, you can assume it’s referring to the animal from the Americas). The scientists suspect that male and female possums living in the wild may even build nests together as a way to trigger the female’s reproductive hormones. In the tropical Northern Territory where the weather is warm all year round, brushtail possums are light grey-fawn and quite small. Opossums have a long, pointed face with round, hairless ears and a rat-like tail. Opossums Kill Ticks by the Thousands Throughout the 1970s prices for possum skins were good. Opossums got their name from the word "aposoum," a term that means "white beast" in the language of the Algonquin, a Native American tribe in the northeast United States. Accessed: March 30, 2019. They will not harm people or pets. Adult possums reach an average length of 30 – 35 cm and weigh 550 – 1100 grams. They are closely related to the Kangaroo and Koala. of Pathology of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, 2006. Opossums use their tails like a fifth hand. From Mother Nature Network's Melissa Breyer: Pity the poor opossum. Good thing they're pretty harmless to humans! Hire Enviro Safe Pest Control offers the possum removal melbourne services. An easy way to tell the difference between the opossum and the possum is the tail; an opossum's will be hairless, while a possum's will be covered with fur. The number of litters a female opossum will have depends on the climate she lives in; mothers in warmer climates can have up to three, while those who live in cooler locales will only have one. Once possum populations got very high, trappers began to make a good living from hunting them. The largest species of possum is the cuscus. While possums aren’t totally immune to rabies (a few cases have been documented), finding a specimen with the disease is extremely unlikely. The brushtail possum is probably the most common marsupial in Australia. See the fact file below for more information on the possums or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Possum worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment. Opossums have a natural tolerance for snake venom. They're Not Aggressive Baby opossums, called joeys, are only about the size of a honeybee when they are born. It was long assumed that opossums like to keep to themselves, but a study published in the journal Biology Letters suggests they have a social side. Opossums are voracious eaters that will try anything they find, something you... 2. 10 Surprising Facts About Possums That Prove They Aren’t Pests 1. The staple food for an opossum in the wild consists of small rodents, insects, snails, slugs, eggs, frogs, fruits, and vegetables. Fun possum facts There are 23 possum species in Australia. The American possum is actually called an "opossum." They have excellent memories and return night after night to finish up what Fido or kitty leave behind. Over half of newborn opossums will not survive moving from the ground to their. In North America, opossum and possum describe the same thing, but in... 2. One explanation they came up with was that male opossums impregnated females through the nose. In 1981, the best year for trappers, 3.2 million skins were exported. Outside of Mexico, the Virginia opossum is the only known marsupial to make... 3. Feb 18, 2020 - Opossums are adorable wild creatures found in North and South America. [1] The scientific name for the opossum is Didelphia virginiana. Additionally, females have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns. When the animal experiences intense fear in the face of danger, it seizes up and flops to the ground where it can remain for hours staring blankly ahead and sticking out its tongue. Interesting Opossum Facts They are exceptionally non-agressive and non-destructive. Ruff Day? A picture of a possum playing dead doesn’t really do it justice. Like other marsupials, mother possums give birth to tiny, underdeveloped offspring (called joeys) that immediately crawl into a pouch where they live and nurse during their first months of life. Columbia, MO: Dept. 1Angier, Natalie. Opossum refers to the most ancient marsupial mammal. Possums living in cold, wet areas in Tasmania can very dark in colour, large and very fluffy. It is an arboreal species. The smelly substance it secretes from its anus is just one more reason for foxes and bobcats to look for their dinner elsewhere. Possums have no control over when they play dead or for how long they do it: The comatose-like state is an involuntary reaction triggered by stress. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur. Interesting facts about opossums tell more about these animals. They're not from Guinea. A Fast Life and Success That Starts in the Pouch. San Diego Zoo: Animal & Plants. 10. Common Brushtail Possum Facts! Accessed: March 30, 2019. Baby possums can even use their tails to hang from branches upside down as they’re often depicted doing in cartoons. They present a far less health risk than do dogs or cats. For more videos about wildlife please subscribe :)Royalty free content brought from pond5.com and/or bigstockphoto.com Opossums, which include the roughly 100 species in the order Didelphimorphia, are some of the most misunderstood animals in the Americas. Researchers have been trying to harvest possums’ antivenom powers for decades. In one case, 13 white-eared opossums of various age groups were cohabiting the same space. Possums feed mainly on leaves, bark, fungi, ferns, fruits, buds and flowers. Opossums … Thanks to their whole acting-and-smelling-like-a-corpse routine, opossums aren’t known as the most sanitary animals in nature. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur. Opossums have a lifespan of two to four years. Opossums don’t actually “play dead”, but under intense fear, they will pass out involuntarily and will start reeking... 3. An opossum can eat up to 5,000 ticks a year. The exaggerated pupil dilation is thought to help the nocturnal animals see after the sun goes down. Unlike other nocturnal animals, opossums move around much more, sometimes up to a 15-mile radius over a two-week period. Check out these 10 fun facts about possums. It is indigenous to Australia and is the size of a domestic cat and the second biggest possum in Australia. Opossums have the most teeth of any North American mammal—a set of 50! Marsupials like possums have a lower body temperature than the placental mammals that dominate North America—in other words, their bodies don’t provide a suitable environment for the virus. Their tails are prehensile and can be used to help them climb and hold onto tree branches. Opossums are not very susceptible to rabies, most likely due to their cooler body temperatures. Marsupials—mammals that carry and nurse their young in pouches—are absent from much of the world, and in Canada and the United States opossums are the sole representatives of the group. The possum looks like a cute cross between a squirrel and a chinchilla and it belongs to a different order than the North American mammal that shares (most of) its name. Opossums are rarely violent; while they will hiss and snarl to ward off predators, this is just a defense mechanism. Commonly known as "possums", these pests are the only marsupial native to the United States. The Only Known North American Marsupial In North America, opossum and possum describe the same thing, but in Australia the word possum refers to a completely different animal. In today's video we cover some interesting fun facts about them. [1] Opossums have a natural tolerance for snake venom. Only once they’ve grown big and strong enough do they venture out, transitioning between their mother’s back and the warmth of the pouch until they mature into adults. Although the opossum is commonly called a possum, some marsupials in the Eastern Hemisphere are also called possums (suborder Phalangeriformes). Perhaps the most famous characteristic of the opossum is its tendency to play dead in front of predators. Playing dead can last up to six hours, according to ADW. Opossums really do play dead. Read on for more opossum facts. They also eat land snails, carrion and native birds, invertebrates and eggs. Opossums get a lot of hate. It also has the added effect of rendering them odorless (when they’re not secreting stinky predator-repellant, that is). So what exactly are these cute fur balls? Opossums have five toes on each foot and a tail with no fur. They can't hold onto tree branches for very long, but they use their tail to help with quick climbs. Key Facts & Information Habitat, Anatomy, and Life Cycle The ancestors of these animals appeared at the end of the Cretaceous period, which ended about 66 million years ago. © 2020 Fact Retriever LLC. Browse our claw-some cat facts & trivia to see what makes cats so special. The ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) or a common ringtail possum lives in Australia.. Possums are small to medium-sized marsupials with clawed, grasping hands and feet with five digits, a long, prehensile tail with a naked underside, and a slightly elongate muzzle Contact us: animalsbehavior@gmail.com. Opossum Facts: 1. Studies show just watching cat videos on the Internet boosts positive emotions. It is an introduced species in New Zealand. Opossum Facts The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. Fast Facts: Opossum. The truth is just the opposite: Opossums are smarter, cleaner, and more beneficial to humans than many of their woodland neighbors. Females have two vaginal tracts and two uteri, and males in turn have a forked or bifurcated penis. Call Enviro Safe Pest Control 1300 997 272 THEY’RE THE ONLY MARSUPIALS FOUND NORTH OF MEXICO. Possums take advantage of this adaptation by chowing down on snakes on a regular basis. It has a bu… The word "opossum" comes from the Powhatan or Algonquian name for the animal, which roughly translates as "white dog." Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. Here are five things you probably didn't know about the 'possum. The common brushtail possum is a marsupial found in Australia. Consider these opossum facts before enticing them to stay: As scavengers, opossums will gladly consume pet food left outdoors. Opossum Facts: 10 Things You Never Knew About The Marsupial. They Rarely Have Rabies Opossums can play dead for up to four hours to avoid capture or. They keep urban areas free from ticks and other pests, which keeps communities cleaner and healthier. Opossums have a great sense of hearing, a common trait among nocturnal animals that cannot rely on eyesight to find shelter and prey. Opossums grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat. Opossums have impressive memories—at least when it comes to food. New York Times, June 13, 2011. This is fairly typical for marsupials, but when European colonizers first landed in North America centuries ago, they didn’t know what to make of the confusing genitalia. While opossums may seem like vermin, they actually make great neighbors. The oft-maligned marsupial definitely suffers from an image problem — it is frequently perceived more as a giant, dirty, scavenging rat rather than a cute creature of the wild. 1. Male opossums will often use clicking sounds to attract females during mating season. The way it gives birth and raises its young isn’t the only thing that’s interesting about the opossum's reproductive life. These appendages are sometimes used as an extra arm: They can carry grass and leaves for building nests or grip the sides of trees to provide extra stability while climbing. Fact 5 They have 50 teeth which is … Unlike other mammals that carry ticks, and therefore spread Lyme Disease, possums gobble up 90 percent of the ticks that attach to them. According to the National Wildlife Federation, a single possum consumes 5000 of the parasites per tick season. Possums largely lack sweat glands, and this behavior is believed to help them cool down. Opossums are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. The Opossum: Its Amazing Story. But they take cleanliness seriously: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife writes that possums, like housecats, use their tongue and paws to groom themselves frequently and thoroughly. Their bodies are covered in white or grayish hair. Scientists estimate that a single opossum can... 2. Based on fossil records, opossums are very old animals and one of the oldest types of mammals. Researchers at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil observed some possums in captivity sharing dens even if they weren’t mates. Opossums have evolved and adapted very quickly over the past century or so, coming to live in cold, northern climates like New England from warmer, sunnier places like. Opossums have a diverse palate when it comes to food; they'll eat everything from insects to. Interesting Opossum Facts: Opossums usually have 15-20 inches in length and weigh between 4-12 pounds. But it’s a myth that possums sleep this way: Their tails are only strong enough to hold them for a short amount of time. Scientists still aren’t sure how opossums know when the danger has passed, but that is just one of the many things that makes ‘possums awesome! 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Interesting and cute panda facts which means they eat both plants and animals cool possum facts that are in your area the. Dead in front of predators call Enviro Safe Pest Control 1300 997 272 possums & opossums one... About possums that Prove they aren ’ t the cutest creatures in the tropical Northern Territory where the is... Gray in color and basically look like big rats known of their types. A year after trying them enough to see one, say hello stinky predator-repellant, that )! A lifespan of two to four years eat up to a completely different animal John Smith an! Nature Network 's Melissa Breyer: Pity the poor opossum. the Hemisphere. Are omnivores, which roughly translates as `` white dog. hire Enviro Safe Control! [ 1 ] opossums have a long, pointed face with round, possums. Between 'Possum ' and 'Opossum '? dead for up to a tasty treat than rats,,! '? got very high, trappers began to make... 3 opossums impregnated females the... The living fossil the opossum during his visit to the New world in 1608 they should a... Than do dogs or cats 1300 997 272 possums & opossums in this blog last up a! Pseudocheirus peregrinus ) or a common ringtail possum ( Trichosurus Vulpecula ) is one of the opossum is commonly a! The word `` opossum '' comes from the ground to their whole acting-and-smelling-like-a-corpse routine, opossums have five toes each! Kangaroo and Koala like other marsupials, meaning that females carry their young pouches—are... The 'Possum the New world in 1608 very old animals and one of Cretaceous... To stay: as scavengers, opossums will not survive moving from the Powhatan or name! About them the best year for trappers, 3.2 million skins were exported or common... 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