About opossums: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior

Opossums – scientific name is “Didelphimorphia” that generally look like oversized rats. While they may look like rats, they are very different from rats.

• An opossum has opposable digits which ensure it has a good grip, especially when climbing.
• Opossums have prehensile tails which means they can support their weight using their tails
• They are marsupial animals, meaning mothers have pouches on their belly.
• Mothers give birth to between 6-9 young ones at a time. And will do it at least three times a year which is generally, between January to July.
• The gestation period will last between 12-14 days and once the babies are born they must find their way to the pouch where they will feed and grow from then until they are grown enough be on their own. This is between 75 to 120 days.
• Opossums have a very high immunity and are resistant to almost all snake venom other than coral snake venom. They are also not carriers of rabies are as are up to eight times more resistant than wild dogs to the virus.
• Their life spans range between 2 to 4 years.

• Opossums will mostly be found in the Americas and are common especially in North America.
• They are generally solitary animals and live nomadic lives.
• Opossums will comfortably live in attics, burrows dug by other animals, in tree trunks and on trees.
• They are also semi-arboreal, which means they also live partly in trees and are very good climbers.
• Their habitats have to be dry and warm.

Feeding habits and diets
Opossums are generally omnivorous, but the amount of meat they will eat will differ between species. They are basically foraging animals. They will eat;

• Small animals like frogs, snails, snakes and lizards.
• Fruits, berries, nuts.
• Any treats they may get in your dustbin as long as it is edible.

• Opossums are very easily frightened. When this happens, they will urinate, defecate, belch or try to run away. If all these are not possible, they will simply play dead. Which is dropping and freezing into one position, making it look dead to predators…It can lie in this position for up to six hours.
• Opossums are lazy animals and will therefore not do much work to better their homes. They simply prefer moving into other animals’ burrows.

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