Virginia Opossum

Didelphis virginiana

Summary 3

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. In the United States it is typically referred to simply as a possum. A solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat, and thus the largest opossum, it is a successful opportunist. It is familiar to many North Americans as it is often seen near towns, rummaging through garbage cans,...

Distribution 4

Virginia opossums are found east of the Rockies from southern Canada into Central America. They are also found on the west coast of the United States. They cannot tolerate extreme cold.

Habitat 4

Virginia opossums prefer forested habitats with water nearby, but they are highly adaptable to urban and suburban environments.

Life History 4

Reproduction Virginia opossums are polygynous, meaning that males mate with multiple females. They probably breed sometime anytime between mid-winter to later summer and may have up to three litters/year. Because they are marsupial, the young are "born" and leave the birth canal and climb into the pouch to attach to the nipples and complete their development for up to 70 days. The young witll stay with their mother for another 1-2 months before dispersing.

Diet Virginia opossums are opportunistic omnivores and will eat vertebrates, invertebrates, and a variety of fruits, leaves as well as garbage.

Notes 5

Introduced from the eastern US, apocryphally for a failed fur farm enterprise. White face (very pale in a flashlight beam) with a pink nose and a naked pink/grey tail. Nocturnal, disliked by dogs, and dumber than a sack of hammers.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Kim A. Cabrera, all rights reserved, uploaded by Kim Cabrera, www.bear-tracker.com
  2. (c) Jessie Hirsch, some rights reserved (CC BY), http://www.flickr.com/photos/31329193@N00/2483691463
  3. Adapted by Kim Cabrera from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didelphis_virginiana
  4. (c) gillian360, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/31908
  5. (c) sea-kangaroo, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/13362

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