Its ears are hairless, black, and tipped or edged with white. Opossums are primarily nocturnal and are omnivorous, opportunistic hunters and foragers. One of the coolest common opossum facts is that newborn opossum babies are only about the size of a raisin! Reverts to original layout including graphics and images, Dr. Katherine Edwards,Wildlife Management Specialist. Opossums are the only marsupial in North America and mothers carry their babies in a pouch for 7 to 8 weeks. The Virginia or American opossum, sometimes referred to as the possum, is the only marsupial that lives wild in the United States. It has grayish fur everywhere but on its ears, feet, and tail. Virginia Opossums are 2 to 3 feet (61 to 91 cm) long, plus a tail length of 8 to 13 (20 to 33 cm) inches. Virginia Opossums have a shoulder height of 8”-11” (20-28 cm), body length between 14”-19” (36-48 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 4-14 lb (2-6 kg). A marsupial is an animal with a pouch. The size of a house cat, males average about 3 kg (6.6 pounds), females about 2 kg (4.4 pounds). Virginia opossums can vary considerably in size, with larger specimens found to the north of the opossum's range and smaller specimens in the tropics. Gestation is 12.5-13 days. A joey will generally open its eyes when it is 55 to 70 days old. Like most marsupials, opossums are very small when they are born - about the size of a navy bean. Males are usually larger and heavier than females. It has two color phases — (1) grayish and (2) blackish; basal fourth or more of tail black, terminal section whitish; legs and feet blackish, toes often white or whitish. An adult Virginia opossum reaches roughly the size of a domestic cat. Opossums are cat-sized mammals with a pointed snout, grayish fur, small ears, and a long, scaly tail. Litter size in California averaged 7.2 (Reynolds 1952). Litters are produced in two peak periods: January-March and May-July. The Virginia opossum is about the size of a cat. opossum rabies. Each foot has five digits with all but the first digit on the hind foot having claws. habitat. Description of the Opossum. Adults are the size of an average house cat, weighing six to 15 pounds, and are 24 to 33 inches in length (body and tail). The species is polyestrous, with an estrous cycle of 22-38 days. Below, we look at 2 species of Opossum – the Virginia Opossum and the Water Opossum. Virginia Opossum - Didelphis virginiana Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Infraclass: Marsupialia Order: Di The opossum uses its prehensile tail to bring nesting material such as leaves, grass, and other material into the den. It has a prehensile tail. Contactez votre entreprise pour acquérir une licence pour cette image. Informally, most folks just call them ‘possums. Remove all graphics and images from the website so that only the text and links are visible. Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) History and Status Habitats & Habits Description The Virginia opossum is a unique animal in North Carolina. The opossum has been around for at least 70 million years and is one of Earth's oldest surviving mammals! Gestation is approximately 2 weeks. Learn its characteristics, behavior, habitat, diet, benefits and uses, and damage and control techniques. The female will raise one or two litters each year, with the first one generally in February and the second in June. About the size of a typical house cat, Virginia opossums are the largest species of opossum. If you’re lucky enough to see one, say hello. >>  Opossums do not hibernate, but during very cold weather they may nest in a hollow log or abandoned burrow for several days at a time. A prehensile tail is adapted for grasping and w… Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana Common Name(s): Virginia Opossum, Possum Identification: Virginia opossums Didelphis virginiana are the only marsupial (mammals with a pouch) in North America. Opossums remain in the mother's pouch until they are two months old. Then again, Captain Cook used the term opossum way back in 1770 in Australia. The Virginia opossum is about the size of a large house cat. Adult males are bigger than females. Opossums belong to the Didelphidae family (New World Opossums). Males are typically larger than females. While giving birth, the female adopts a sitting posture and licks the fur of the abdomen and pouch. 770.992.2055 Description. Size and also color variation between opossums may depend on the habitat they are residing in. Gestation is 12.5-13 days. Not long after this, they begin to move around within the pouch and may leave the pouch briefly to climb about on the mother’s back when they are around 3 months old. Unlike most wild animals, the opossum flourishes in urban areas, and the presence of human settlements actually serves to increase the opossum’s habitat and population size. Two to three litters a year are born after a gestation period of only 12 to 13 days. (4 to 6 kilograms), according to National Geographic. Litter size in California averaged 7.2 (Reynolds 1952). In the United States, it is typically referred to simply as a possum. Litters are produced in two peak periods: January-March and May-July. The Virginia or American opossum, sometimes referred to as the possum, is the only marsupial that lives wild in the United States. About the size of a Virginia opossum, the 3.1 kg Adalatherium was very large for its day. They have long, hairless, prehensile tails and feet with an opposable hallux (or thumb) that help them hold on to branches. In captivity however they can live up to 4 years. Note if the opossum is still drinking its mother's milk, if you are observing it in the wild. It has grayish fur everywhere but on its ears, feet, and tail. [2] We have our opossum, a living piece of the Cretaceous. Their rather distant marsupial relatives in Australia and New Zealand are technically possums. They roam around at night in search of food: insects (even cockroaches! The opossum has a long, pointed face with black eyes, long whiskers and a distinctive pink nose. Opossums have short legs relative to their body size. They have coarse, greyish fur, whitish faces with long, pointed snouts, naked, round ears, and beady eyes. Sunday 12PM - 5PM, Wildlife Clinic Hours A Virginia opossum female may have as many as 25 babies, but she usually will have between seven to eight. Facts about possums often include claims that they are disease-carrying dangerous creatures. A modified diet can include pet food, garbage, and compost piles. The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is North America’s only marsupial. Body color ranges from whitish-gray or dark gray with a long and pointed face, round hairless ears, and a distinct long hairless tail. It has short legs and an opposable big toe which is clawless. in length, from nose to tail An average soccer ball is 8.65 inches tall. Virginia opossum - Photos. The litter size may range from five to 13 young, the average size being eight. Their underfur is usually whitish and tipped in black, but their coloration varies throughout their range. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Reproduction: In California, the Virginia opossum mates in January-February and June-July. The Virginia opossum is the most commonly known opossum. Opossums breed February through June. Virginia Opossums breed two or three times each year, from February through September. They are one of the world's most variably sized mammals, since a large male from northern North America weighs ab… They also scavenge on carrion (animals that are already dead). A opossum with open eyes is likely to be at least 70 days old. They measure 13–37 in (35–94 cm) long from their snout to the base of the tail, with the tail adding another 8.5–19 in (21.6–47 cm). The young are born about 12 to 13 days after fertilization, from February through July. These marsupials are great climbers. They have opposable thumbs on their hind legs which help them climb trees. The penis of the male opossum is "bifurcated" or split on the end. These marsupials have an elongated snout, and a large sagittal crest – a bone making their forehead look taller. Read on to learn about the opossum. Virginia opossums can live as long as 2 years in the wild. What is a possum? 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