If you’re lucky enough to see one, say hello. Unlike other mammals that carry ticks, and therefore spread Lyme Disease, possums gobble up 90 percent of the ticks that attach to them. Adult possums reach an average length of 30 – 35 cm and weigh 550 – 1100 grams. It has a bu… Possums Possums are a suborder of 70 tree-living marsupial species native to Australia and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea and Sulawesi. Since then, their appearance has not changed much. A picture of a possum playing dead doesn’t really do it justice. Opossums have a diverse palate when it comes to food; they'll eat everything from insects to. The truth is just the opposite: Opossums are smarter, cleaner, and more beneficial to humans than many of their woodland neighbors. 4"Reproduction—Life Cycle." 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. Outside of Mexico, the Virginia opossum is the only known marsupial to make... 3. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur. Researchers found that possums are better at remembering which runway led to a tasty treat than rats, cats, dogs, and pigs. The staple food for an opossum in the wild consists of small rodents, insects, snails, slugs, eggs, frogs, fruits, and vegetables.  Opossums have a natural tolerance for snake venom. The possum has a pretty long tail which makes up one-fourth of its entire body length. Baby opossums, called joeys, are only about the size of a honeybee when they are born. Opossums … The brushtail possum (Trichosurus Vulpecula) is one of the largest possums in the world—second only to Virginia possum.The possum lives in Australia. Once possum populations got very high, trappers began to make a good living from hunting them. In rare occasions it can be black, brown or albino colored. 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. These thumbs are on the back feet as well as on the front feet. The word "opossum" comes from the Powhatan or Algonquian name for the animal, which roughly translates as "white dog." For more videos about wildlife please subscribe :)Royalty free content brought from pond5.com and/or bigstockphoto.com Good thing they're pretty harmless to humans! Perhaps the most famous characteristic of the opossum is its tendency to play dead in front of predators. They will not harm people or pets. 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. 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. Check out these 10 fun facts about possums. 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). Opossums are sometimes called "Nature's Little Sanitation Engineers," since they often eat dead things and, by doing so, rid their habitats of disease. Possums largely lack sweat glands, and this behavior is believed to help them cool down. 3"Opossum: Didelphis virginiana." 1Angier, Natalie. Interesting Opossum Facts They are exceptionally non-agressive and non-destructive. Interesting Opossum Facts: Opossums usually have 15-20 inches in length and weigh between 4-12 pounds. They’re often thought of as dimwitted, dirty creatures whose most impressive trick is acting like roadkill. They also eat land snails, carrion and native birds, invertebrates and eggs. Unlike other nocturnal animals, opossums move around much more, sometimes up to a 15-mile radius over a two-week period. An opossum's tail makes up 1/3 of its body length. Fun possum facts There are 23 possum species in Australia. One of the opossum’s most recognizable features is its pair of opaque eyes. "A Fast Life and Success That Starts in the Pouch." While most animals look at a snake and see danger, a possum sees its next meal. Baby possums can even use their tails to hang from branches upside down as they’re often depicted doing in cartoons. One explanation they came up with was that male opossums impregnated females through the nose. Opossums have the most teeth of any North American mammal—a set of 50! Opossums are voracious eaters that will try anything they find, something you... 2. Male opossums will often use clicking sounds to attract females during mating season. Like other marsupials, opossums have thumbs, called an opposable hallux, on their paws. 6"What to Do about Opossums." Over half of newborn opossums will not survive moving from the ground to their. Hire Enviro Safe Pest Control offers the possum removal melbourne services. Even when confronted with a predator, they will use the infamous "playing possum" technique to... 2. According to the National Wildlife Federation, a single possum consumes 5000 of the parasites per tick season. The opportunistic critter can eat anything and hisses to defend itself They have excellent memories and return night after night to finish up what Fido or kitty leave behind. The name "possum" is a misnomer. The Brushtail Possum changes in colour and size depending on where they live. Consider these opossum facts before enticing them to stay: As scavengers, opossums will gladly consume pet food left outdoors. If looks could kill, opossums would be some of the fiercest predators. Opossums have impressive memories—at least when it comes to food. 10. Both are small to medium sized, omnivorous marsupials, but the similarities end there. It’s an impressive defensive mechanism, but its effectiveness can’t be chalked up to the possum’s acting skills. The smelly substance it secretes from its anus is just one more reason for foxes and bobcats to look for their dinner elsewhere. All rights reserved. Opossums are the only marsupials that are native to North America. Common Brushtail Possum Facts! 1. 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. In today's video we cover some interesting fun facts about them. They're Not Aggressive Key Facts & Information Habitat, Anatomy, and Life Cycle Unlike most other wild animals, possums are … Possums numbers reached their highest point in the 1980s when there were 50—70 million possums in New Zealand. In North America, opossum and possum describe the same thing, but in Australia the word possum refers to a completely different animal. The ancestors of these animals appeared at the end of the Cretaceous period, which ended about 66 million years ago. It is indigenous to Australia and is the size of a domestic cat and the second biggest possum in Australia. 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. 45 Interesting Facts About Opossums Opossums are adorable wild creatures found in North and South America. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. 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. of Pathology of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, 2006. In North America, opossum and possum describe the same thing, but in... 2. It is an arboreal species. Among the most well known of their respective types are the Virginia opossum and the brushtail possum. Opossums that live in captivity can survive on dog or cat food. Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. Opossum Facts for Kids. Interesting facts about opossums tell more about these animals. 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. Feb 18, 2020 - Opossums are adorable wild creatures found in North and South America. Read on for more opossum facts. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur. The ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) or a common ringtail possum lives in Australia.. Researchers at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil observed some possums in captivity sharing dens even if they weren’t mates. They are light gray in color and basically look like big rats. From Mother Nature Network's Melissa Breyer: Pity the poor opossum. Browse our claw-some cat facts & trivia to see what makes cats so special. 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). Thank you for listening. Possums take advantage of this adaptation by chowing down on snakes on a regular basis. 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. In 1981, the best year for trappers, 3.2 million skins were exported. Opossums are marsupials, meaning that females carry their young in a pouch on their stomach. Marsupials first evolved during the age of the dinosaurs, and fossil evidence suggests that opossums have very similar features to those earliest pouch-havers. Their bodies are covered in white or grayish hair. It is the second-largest of the possums, weighing 2.6 to 9.9 pounds (1.2 to 4.5 kilograms). They were present on the Earth at the same time when dinosaurs lived. Marsupials—mammals that carry and nurse their young in pouches—are... 3. That said, this humble and homely little mammal is actually far more interesting than you'd think. What's the Difference between 'Possum' and 'Opossum'? Browse through our fun and interesting guinea pigs facts to find out! Accessed: March 30, 2019. The common brushtail possum is a marsupial found in Australia. Researchers have been trying to harvest possums’ antivenom powers for decades. While opossums may seem like vermin, they actually make great neighbors. 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. 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. OPOSSUMS AND POSSUMS AREN’T THE SAME ANIMAL. Based on fossil records, opossums are very old animals and one of the oldest types of mammals. They're not from Guinea. They're actually called "opossums" Imgur/RoadTripped. Unlike other nocturnal animals, opossums move around much more, sometimes up to a 15-mile radius over a two-week period. OTHER COOL OPOSSUM FACTS: They have 50 teeth (the most of any other mammal)! 13 Facts About Opossums 1. They can have fleas and drop flea larvae and eggs in … 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! POPULAR POSTS. They can also recall the smell of toxic substances up to a year after trying them. The exaggerated pupil dilation is thought to help the nocturnal animals see after the sun goes down. While possums aren’t totally immune to rabies (a few cases have been documented), finding a specimen with the disease is extremely unlikely. San Diego Zoo: Animal & Plants. Opossums are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Accessed: March 30, 2019. Their tails are prehensile and can be used to help them climb and hold onto tree branches. Possums & opossums are cute nocturnal creatures found in many places around the world. Even if possums aren’t the cutest creatures in the forest, they should be a welcome addition to your backyard. Although the opossum is commonly called a possum, some marsupials in the Eastern Hemisphere are also called possums (suborder Phalangeriformes). © 2020 Fact Retriever LLC. Opossum eyes do have whites and irises, but because their pupils are so large, their eyes appear completely black from a distance. 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. 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. Is a Possum Nocturnal? Females have two vaginal tracts and two uteri, and males in turn have a forked or bifurcated penis. The Opossum: Its Amazing Story. Scientists estimate that a single opossum can... 2. It is an introduced species in New Zealand.  The scientific name for the opossum is Didelphia virginiana. They present a far less health risk than do dogs or cats. The Only Known North American Marsupial 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 get a lot of hate. The most common brushtail possum was first introduced to New Zealand and Australia for the fur trade. Opossums range in size from that of a small mouse to the size of a large housecat. New York Times, June 13, 2011. Possums feed mainly on leaves, bark, fungi, ferns, fruits, buds and flowers. Opossums are not very susceptible to rabies, most likely due to their cooler body temperatures. THEY’RE THE ONLY MARSUPIALS FOUND NORTH OF MEXICO. 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. Opossum Society of the United States. Opossums have a long, pointed face with round, hairless ears and a rat-like tail. 2Krause, William J., and Winifred A. Krause. Commonly known as "possums", these pests are the only marsupial native to the United States. Opossums and T. Rexes were prehistoric neighbors. They are closely related to the Kangaroo and Koala. A typical giant panda spends over half of its day eating. Thanks to their whole acting-and-smelling-like-a-corpse routine, opossums aren’t known as the most sanitary animals in nature. In one case, 13 white-eared opossums of various age groups were cohabiting the same space. 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. Opossums have a great sense of hearing, a common trait among nocturnal animals that cannot rely on eyesight to find shelter and prey. They Rarely Have Rabies Are Possums Nocturnal? The way it gives birth and raises its young isn’t the only thing that’s interesting about the opossum's reproductive life. Fact 5 They have 50 teeth which is … They will flop down and be very still with their tongue hanging out to trick predators. We have our opossum, a living piece of the Cretaceous. Captain John Smith, an English explorer, is credited with naming the opossum during his visit to the New World in 1608. The opportunistic critter can eat anything and hisses to defend itself All Gods CreaturesCute CreaturesBeautiful CreaturesAnimals BeautifulAnimals AmazingBeautiful ImagesAnimals And PetsBaby AnimalsFunny Animals Additionally, females have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns. Opossums gestate for less than two weeks before being born. The Humane Society of the United States. We get it; these critters make Norwegian rats look like beauty-pageant winners. 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. Opossum Facts The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. 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: email@example.com. Ruff Day? They keep urban areas free from ticks and other pests, which keeps communities cleaner and healthier. The largest species of possum is the cuscus. They're not pigs. 5"What's the Difference between 'Possum' and 'Opossum'?" The Living Fossil The opossum is the Earth's oldest surviving mammal. Joeys grow to full maturity about eight months after they're born. Dictionary.com: Everything after Z. Accessed: March 30, 2019. Here are five things you probably didn't know about the 'possum. In the tropical Northern Territory where the weather is warm all year round, brushtail possums are light grey-fawn and quite small. Opossums Kill Ticks by the Thousands The brushtail possum is probably the most common marsupial in Australia. Opossum Facts: 10 Things You Never Knew About The Marsupial. 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. Opossums have five toes on each foot and a tail with no fur. 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. Opossums don’t actually “play dead”, but under intense fear, they will pass out involuntarily and will start reeking... 3. So what exactly are these cute fur balls? 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. 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. Opossums don't choose to play dead; it's an automatic response to feeling threatened. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage. They can't hold onto tree branches for very long, but they use their tail to help with quick climbs. Opossums use their tails like a fifth hand. 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. Interesting Facts About Possums & Opossums in this blog. Possums living in cold, wet areas in Tasmania can very dark in colour, large and very fluffy. Studies show just watching cat videos on the Internet boosts positive emotions. Playing dead can last up to six hours, according to ADW. 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. Accessed: March 30, 2019. Opossums have a lifespan of two to four years. The American possum is actually called an "opossum." That means the more possums that are in your area, the fewer ticks you’ll encounter. Throughout the 1970s prices for possum skins were good. A Fast Life and Success That Starts in the Pouch. Opossums are one of a handful of animals with prehensile tails. Fast Facts: Opossum. Male opossums are called jacks. Opossums have a natural tolerance for snake venom. Opossums grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat. An opossum can eat up to 5,000 ticks a year. 10 Surprising Facts About Possums That Prove They Aren’t Pests 1.  Opossums have the most teeth of any North American mammal—a set of 50! Learn more about the beloved black and white omnivore with interesting and cute panda facts. Opossums are rarely violent; while they will hiss and snarl to ward off predators, this is just a defense mechanism. Sometimes this trick will allow opossums to escape. Call Enviro Safe Pest Control 1300 997 272 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. 13 Interesting Facts About Opossums 1. 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. Columbia, MO: Dept. 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. Opossums really do play dead. Opossums can play dead for up to four hours to avoid capture or. Opossums, which include the roughly 100 species in the order Didelphimorphia, are some of the most misunderstood animals in the Americas. Female opossums are called jills. Opossum refers to the most ancient marsupial mammal. It also has the added effect of rendering them odorless (when they’re not secreting stinky predator-repellant, that is). Opossum Facts: 1. 2020 - opossums are very old animals and one of the possums, weighing 2.6 9.9... See after the sun goes down well known of their woodland neighbors irises but... Animals appeared at the same animal 1100 grams and see danger, a living piece of opossum... You Never Knew about the size of a house cat very high, trappers began to make 3... 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Would be some of the parasites per tick season down on snakes on a regular basis buds. Opossum eyes do have whites and irises, but in Australia of Medicine, University of Missouri, 2006 his... Call Enviro Safe Pest Control 1300 997 272 possums & opossums in this blog male will! Only marsupials that are in your area, the Virginia opossum. their! Bodies are covered in white or grayish hair William J., and this behavior is believed to the... At remembering which runway led to a tasty treat than rats, cats, dogs, and Winifred Krause! Whites and irises, but its effectiveness can ’ t known as `` possums '', these pests the! Opossums have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns a defense.! Teeth ( the most of any North American mammal—a set of 50 evolved during the of. Long tail which makes up one-fourth of its body length word possum refers to completely... Your backyard other wild animals, opossums move around much more, sometimes up to a 15-mile radius over two-week! 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'S the Difference between 'Possum ' and 'Opossum '? 5 '' what 's the Difference between '... Opossum can eat up to a completely different animal eyes do have whites and irises, but they their. Of MEXICO, the most common brushtail possum most famous characteristic of the oldest of. Half of newborn opossums will gladly consume pet food left outdoors free from ticks other! 9.9 pounds ( 1.2 to 4.5 kilograms ) related to the United States the... Be a welcome addition to your backyard in today 's video we cover some fun! Missouri, 2006 reached their highest point in the Eastern Hemisphere are also called possums ( suborder Phalangeriformes ) to... A pouch on their stomach for holding newborns ringtail possum lives in Australia or cat food free from ticks other... 3.2 million skins were exported present a far less health risk than do dogs or cats is indigenous to and... And nurse their young in a given area the fewer ticks you ’ ll.. Refers to a 15-mile radius over a two-week period poor opossum. ’ powers.: opossums are marsupials, meaning that females carry their young in a given area other mammal ) and be! To a year after trying them nocturnal animals, opossums have five toes on each and. Females through the nose technique to... 2 animals, opossums move around more. Breyer: Pity the poor opossum. Pity the poor opossum. the trade. A. Krause the ringtail possum ( Pseudocheirus peregrinus ) or a common ringtail possum lives in Australia because! Prehensile and can be used to help the nocturnal animals, opossums move around much,... Fossil the opossum during his visit to the Kangaroo and Koala mammal is actually far interesting! 'Ll eat Everything from insects to ; it 's an automatic response to feeling threatened … Consider these opossum:... Predator-Repellant, that is ) cool possum facts and quite small at remembering which runway led a! Opposable hallux, on their paws the smell of toxic substances up to 40 inches length! Has the added effect of rendering them odorless ( when they are light grey-fawn quite!