Opossums have a long, pointed face with round, hairless ears and a rat-like tail. All rights reserved. Possums are versatile and adaptable. According to the Opossum Society, litter size can be up to 13 babies, and the mothers feed their babies in their pouch for 2 - 3 months. Likewise, the mahogany glider is listed as endangered due to the rapid rate at which its habitat is being cleared for agriculture, livestock, and timber. Adult possums reach an average length of 30 – 35 cm and weigh 550 – 1100 grams. The most common brushtail possum was first introduced to New Zealand and Australia for the fur trade. The American possum is actually called an "opossum." They also became part of the North America following the Great American Interchange. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Short about Possums Are partially arboreal marsupials with long thick tails, pointed snout and long fox-like tapering ears belonging to the order Diprotodontia. These newborns are no bigger than honeybees and are typically blind and deaf. The Virginia opossum occupies much of the North America and Central America including southern Ontario, Costa Rica, and Rockies. Possums are generally regarded as pests when folks find them lurking in their yard or near their homes in the middle of the night. Opossums really do play dead. In the 1960s there were hardly any possums in Northland but in the 1990s — only 30 years later — there were 10—15 million possums living in Northland. Many of the same threats imperil the critically endangered western ringtail possum. Opossum refers to the most ancient marsupial mammal. What Do Possums Eat and Are They Dangerous?. Fact 1. For instance, the rock-haunting possums from tropical Australia appear to choose just one mate, which scientists call monogamy. They are regarded to be quite intelligent. Scientific Name of the Virginia Opossum: Didelphis virginiana. I have listed my Top 7 Opossum facts about these amazing creatures! POPULAR POSTS. 10. … 'Forest Fairy' Joins as 7,000th Animal in National Geographic's Photo Ark. This order consists of more than 103 that are further classified into 19 genera. [3] Captain John Smith, an English explorer, is credited with naming the opossum during his visit to the New World in 1608. The possum has a pretty long tail which makes up … They’re docile, unlikely to threaten pets or carry disease, and they help keep pest populations under control. Over 59 species of the American opossum inhabit the western hemisphere. Unlike many other possum species, these solitary, nocturnal creatures are highly adapted to living near humans, even in urban areas such as Sydney. Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. Opossums benefit humans in many ways, helping control a number of unwanted pests. Opossum Facts for Kids. Fact 1. They live in holes in the trees. Their unspecialized biology, flexible diet, and reproductive habits make them successful colonizers and survivors in diverse locations and conditions. Additionally, females have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns. Like other marsupials, opossums have thumbs, called an opposable hallux, on their paws. They are efficient swimmers and climbers. Opossums grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat. Fun Facts for Kids. Some scientists have suggested that this acts as an enemy deterrent. Playing dead can last up to six hours, according to ADW. Found in tree branches and hollows, dreys often contain an adult female and male, as well as two sets of twins—one that is still nursing and another that is slightly older, but still dependent on the adults. Our rescued Striped Possum Frankie in our Nocturnal Habitat 5. Sometimes this trick will allow opossums to escape. Where Do Possums Live? They live in holes in the trees.Fact 3They are nocturnal solitary animals that are nomadic by nature and search for abandoned burrows for staying temporarily. [3] [5] Fact 1They weigh about 1.4 to 6.4 kg and are between 65 and 95 cm in length.Fact 2Possums are versatile and adaptable. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- As omnivores, opossums consume a variety of foods. They will flop down and be very still with their tongue hanging out to trick predators. Fact 2. It is because of their biolo… It mainly lives in the US. Their tails are prehensile and can be used to help them climb and hold onto tree branches. Their weight ranges anywhere from less than an ounce to over 10 pounds. Thanks to fires, logging, and climate change, the fairy possum, or Leadbeater’s possum, is considered critically endangered. Ten fun facts about Possums. The amount of time varies for how long each species will spend drinking their mother’s milk, but after this period, possums will usually stay with their mother for a while. Milk is critical to the babies’ growth, which means that any young that cannot find and latch onto a nipple will perish. They are light gray in color and basically look like big rats. Opossums are almost the size of a domestic cat.Male opossums are slightly larger than females, but the difference so little that the animal nearly has no sexual distinction. While possums are mainly herbivores, they have also been known to eat insects and birds’ eggs. The Virginia or American opossum, sometimes referred to as the possum, is the only marsupial that lives wild in the United States. Possums feed on many animals that we consider to be pests, such as rodents, insects, snails, slugs and even some types of birds. 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. To complete their development, young possums must crawl from the birth canal into their mother’s pouch, where they will compete for a teat. Thank you for listening. They also eat nectar, flowers and fruit. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. Opossum typically refers to the Virginia opossum and its cousins in the genus Didelphis, all of which live in North and South America. Average weight is 8.8 to 13.2lb (4 to 6kg). Different climate, different colour. Common brushtail possum. The opossum is a marsupial of the order Didelphimorphia (/daɪˌdɛlfɪˈmɔːrfiə/) endemic to the Americas. For instance, the Sulawesi bear cuscus (Ailurops ursinus), named for its coat of thick, dark fur, can weigh up to 22 pounds. Facts about possums. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); © 2020 10-facts-about.com About / Privacy policy / Contact / Advertise, 10 Evil Serial Killers That Are Still On The Run. Opossum's are far more interesting than most people give them credit for. According to studies, these possums spend 10% of their time grooming, 16% feeding, 30% travelling and as much as 44% sleeping. For more videos about wildlife please subscribe :)Royalty free content brought from pond5.com and/or bigstockphoto.com Just in Australia, up to one-quarter of the country’s 27 species of possums and gliders are listed as threatened. [3] Opossums are the only marsupials that are native to North America. And like koalas, they have evolved the ability to feed on plants that would be poisonous for other animals. This includes the beetles, slugs, and snails which damage garden plants. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 110 or more species in 19 genera. They are considered as one of the major marsupials that are found in the Western Hemisphere. While their names are similar and both are marsupials, possums and opossums are different creatures. The Tasmanian pygmy is the smallest species at just under 3 inches long. They weigh about 1.4 to 6.4 kg and are between 65 and 95 cm in length. Both possums and opossums are opportunistic omnivore creatures and have similar diets. Ringtail Possum Facts for Kids The ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) or a common ringtail possum lives in Australia. They are efficient swimmers and climbers. POSSUM FACTS. Opossums have five toes on each foot and a tail with no fur. Interesting Facts … The opossum is the only species of marsupial (mammals with a pouch in which they carry their young) that is found outside of Australia an it’s surrounding islands. They use their sharp claws, tails and mouth to climb trees. They are then carried around on the mother's back for another 1 - 2 months. They are natural pest removers. Fiordland and Northland were the last areas of New Zealand to be invaded by possums. The Phalangeriformes suborder also includes various species of glider, including the sugar glider, squirrel glider, and yellow-bellied glider. Opossums originated in South America and entered North America in the Great American Interchange following the connection of the two continents. Is a Possum Nocturnal? Possums are a suborder of 70 tree-living marsupial species native to Australia and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea and Sulawesi. When in trees, this animal is able to move very fast, leaping from branch to branch with agility. Like all marsupials, possums have pouches and give birth to live young. 6. Mating systems among the Phalangeriformes vary widely. The Opossums or possums are the small marsupial mammals that fall under the order Didelphimorphia. Even after they have weaned, the young of many marsupial species will still duck into the female’s pouch to stay warm and safe from predators. In fact, possums are eight times less likely to be carriers of rabies than wild dogs. They are closely related to the Kangaroo and Koala. James Cook’s expedition wrongly called them possums after their North American cousins. Interesting facts about opossums Opossum is the common name for various small- to medium-sized marsupial mammals. These animals, around the size of a small cat, have 50 teeth. Most possums live in the hollows of tall trees, but the common ringtail possum builds nests known as ‘dreys’ in bushes or trees. Possums are small marsupials with thick, bushy tails, thick body fur, and a pointed snout and ears. Their bodies are covered in white or grayish hair. Check out these 10 fun facts about possums. Commonly known as "possums", these pests are the only marsupial native to the United States. General Opossum Facts. One species, the feathertail glider, can “fly” up to 65 feet. The Brushtail Possum changes in colour and size depending on where they live. Possums are nocturnal marsupials. Opossums are marsupials, meaning that females carry their young in a pouch on their stomach. Another group of possums is the ringtails, which reside in communal nests called dreys. It can also be found Chile, Argentina, northern Mexico, and south Canada. Possums mainly eat eucalyptus and other leaves. Brushtail possums are the most widespread marsupial in Australia and perhaps the most well-known possums. ; Opossums have 50 teeth.Males tend to have larger canines compared to females. While some species, like the common brushtail possum, are doing well, many possum species are in danger of extinction. Brushtail Possums are known to be tolerant of many plant toxins and will eat trees that other animals find poisonous. ; The average size of opossums, both males and females, is 2.5ft (76cm) from head to tail. The Common brushtail possum is the most widespread and common marsupial in Australia. They are natives of the South American region. The ancestors of these animals appeared at the end of the Cretaceous period, which ended about 66 … These thumbs are on the back feet as well as on the front feet. These nocturnal creatures also consume plant matter. Possums living in cold, wet areas in Tasmania can very dark in colour, large and very fluffy. Possums may also prey on insects, small invertebrates, and eggs. The lips of baby possums and other marsupials will actually fuse shut around the teat, ensuring that they are not easily separated from the lifeline between mother and offspring. They use their sharp claws, tails and mouth to climb trees. Average Lifespan in the Wild: 1-2 years. By 1950 possums were found in over half of New Zealand and they kept spreading. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/possums-gliders.html, possums and opossums are different creatures, mountain brushtail possums will change their mating system. As their name suggests, brushtails have long, thick tails with a prehensile tip and a furless patch on the underside, both of which help them hang onto tree branches. Average Size: 21-36" long (including tail); 4-15 lbs. On the other end of the spectrum is the smallest possum, the Tasmanian pygmy possum, a mouse-size creature that weighs less than a pencil. The average size of this possums body is 26cm, whilst its tail is a much longer 32cm. 1-5 Opossum Facts 1. Related facts about Sharks Platypuses Horses Dogs Lemurs Gorillas. The opossum’s population is on an increasing trend particularly in the northwestern range. Conversely, bear cuscus are the largest at 2 feet long, plus a 2-foot tail! There are more than 60 different species of opossum. The name "possum" is a misnomer. One study found that mountain brushtail possums will change their mating system depending on how much food is available. It Can Have An Unpleasant Odor. Here are 13 Interesting Opossum facts. Instead of shooing them away, let them hang around and they’ll clean up ticks, venomous snakes, discarded birdseed, and more. Just like a skunk, these little fellas look cute, but can be a little bit on the stinky side! These curious marsupials have evolved flaps of skin between their arms and legs, called patagia, that allow them to launch themselves out of the canopy and soar to tree branches below. Possums are a suborder of 70 tree-living marsupial species native to Australia and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea and Sulawesi. Cuscuses are less of a household name, but these animals are among some of the largest possums. 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. Opossums are so often misunderstood but they are great creatures to have around. We’ll also discuss as to where do Australian possums live in Australia and their habitat. Possums include any of several species (from the family Phalangeridae) of nocturnal, arboreal marsupials of Australia and New Guinea, and were mistakenly named in the 18th century when the naturalist from Capt. They're actually called "opossums" Imgur/RoadTripped. Adults are about the size of an average house cat … Possums vary in size, from positively tiny to the size of a large cat. Other characteristics of possums and opossums. Are Possums Nocturnal? Both of the English words possum and opossum come from aposoum, which means “white animal” in Powhatan, a Native American language. 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