Opossums have cat-sized bodies with the tail usually shorter than the combined length of head and body. The body can be gray, black, reddish, rarely white. The head is whitish with darker body color, ears are black or black with paler tips. Lower legs are black with feet and toes being black and white.
Class: Mammal (Mammalia)
Conservation Education Program AnimalMore Info
Range: West coast of U.S. and southern Canada to northern Costa Rica, Great Plains of U.S. to eastern coast. East and west areas of Mexico, but not central. Home range is 31-96 acres.
Habitat: Grasslands to forest-also farms, towns and cities
Lifespan: 2 years
Wild Diet: Depends on location and season: fruit, insects, small vertebrates, carrion, garbage.
Zoo Diet: Low-cal cat food - fish, vegetables, fruit
In fear, they may “play dead” for up to 4 hours on their side with eyes and mouth open, tongue hanging out, emitting both a green fluid from anus and a putrid odor. This opossum does not hibernate.
Females carry the young for approximately 2 weeks before they are born. The newborn must crawl to a nipple. The nipple swells and the baby will stay on it for approximately 2 months. At about 3 months the babies emerge from the pouch.
Gestation: 13 days
Litter: Up to 56 born with only 1-15 attaching to mammae. Usually about 7.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
- This was the first marsupial known to Europeans.