[19] This is the genesis of the term "playing possum", which means pretending to be dead or injured with intent to deceive. Hunting and foodways. [35] Opossums have a very high mortality rate of their young; only one in ten offspring survive to reproductive adulthood. Krause, William J.; Krause, Winifred A.

[12] No other mammal in North America has more than 6 upper incisors, but the Virginia opossum has 10. The Virginia opossum is most active during the spring and summer. In December 2010, a cross-eyed Virginia opossum in Germany's Leipzig Zoo named Heidi became an international celebrity.

It is familiar to many North Americans as they frequently inhabit settled areas due to the associated proximity to food sources, notably trash cans. [48] Though sometimes mistakenly considered to be rats, opossums are not closely related to rodents, or other placental mammals. [24][25] Opossums eat up to 95% of the ticks they encounter. A marsupial is an animal with a pouch, like a kangaroo or a koala. January 12, 2009, The joy of the ‘Joy of Cooking,’ circa 1962, Possum Day Episode of the Beverly Hillbillies, German celebrity opossum misses one Oscar pick, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Virginia_opossum&oldid=986317542, Fauna of the Plains-Midwest (United States), Fauna of the California chaparral and woodlands, Articles needing additional references from September 2018, All articles needing additional references, Articles needing additional references from March 2018, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from Collier's Encyclopedia, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Range, showing both native range and introductions in the west; these areas are currently expanding northward (e.g., into Wisconsin and Minnesota), This page was last edited on 31 October 2020, at 03:00.
The Virginia opossum's ancestors evolved in South America, but spread into North America as part of the Great American Interchange, which occurred mainly after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama about 3 million years ago. Usually when thinking of marsupials, most people think of Australia. "[45][46] [36] Newborns are the size of a honeybee. Since 1900, it has expanded its range to include most of New England (including Maine); New York State, extreme southwestern Quebec; most of southern and eastern Ontario; most of Michigan and Wisconsin; most of Minnesota, southeastern South Dakota and most of Nebraska. While man can pose a threat to their native environment, their range has increased due to their adaptability to live near man, and scavenge trash and pet food. Abundance: Common throughout state. Individual adult tracks generally measure 1.9 in long by 2.0 in wide (4.8 × 5.1 cm) for the fore prints and 2.5 in long by 2.3 in wide (6.4 × 5.7 cm) for the hind prints.

[19] "Playing possum" in response to threats from oncoming traffic often results in death.[22]. Opossums have long, hairless, prehensile tails, which can be used to grab branches and carry small objects. Don't Drink and Drive, Careers At The Wildlife Resources Commission, Have a Wildlife Problem-Tips for Coexisting with Wildlife. They are not fierce animals and don't have the capability of fighting with any animals their size or smaller. There certainly are some physical differences between the possum and opossum; however, possums have fury tails whereas opossums have bare tails similar to rats. [18] Fear can also cause the opossum to release a green fluid from its anus whose putrid odor repels predators.

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