All about the opossum tail and what it is used for

The opossums are rat like animals in appearance but these are definitely bigger than rats many times. A biological classification study of opossums shows that these animals belong to the order Didelphimorphia which is the largest order to marsupial mammals. There are further 103 species and total 19 genera in this order of marsupials. If their ancestry is studied, it is found that the opossums belong to South America basically and they have migrated to North America after the continental drift made a connection between the two continents. There are some specific characteristics of opossums which have made them successful animals to colonize anywhere on the earth. These leading characteristics include their unspecialized biological features, their common dietary habits and reproductive habits. Due to these features, the opossums can survive in many different locations and in diverse conditions easily.

Tail of opossums
Among the various other peculiar features of opossums which have led them to be the successful colonizer, one most prominent feature is the tail of opossums. It is popularly believed that the opossums usually tend to hang high on the limbs of trees by means of their tails. Usually the tail of opossums is used in order to carry out locomotion more swiftly. However the older opossums are quite heavy and they cannot hang themselves freely to the tree branches by means of their tails. When the body of an opossum gets heavy their tail cannot support that much weight of the body of opossums. Otherwise the tail of opossums is much stronger and prehensile as compared to other members of the same order. Although young opossums do occasionally hang themselves to tree branches, but this is not a commonly followed practice.

Helps opossums in living at high altitudes
Usually it is thought about opossums that they live in trees. Some of them may live in trees but most of the opossums tend to live in the high areas especially of the Western Hemisphere. In some other cases, the opossums are also found dwelling in the underground burrows and old nests built by squirrels when they have abandoned them. While living in all these habitats, the tail of opossums helps them a lot because it not only helps in their locomotion but it is also very much helpful in adjusting their posture and maintaining the center of gravity. It is because of the balancing effect produced by tails of opossums that they manage to distribute their heavily weighing bodies in their small feet.

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