Opossums inhabit a wide range, from sea level to elevations over 10,000 feet. Learn everything you need to know about opossum facts, behavior and habitat. They also prefer areas that are wet, like marshes, swamps and streams. Its face is long and pointed with dark, rounded, paper-thin, hairless ears. The fur is frequently darker on the legs and lighter on the back. Zip Code. They naturally prefer deciduous wooded areas near water sources, but can also be found in farmlands or marshes. The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. The home range of an opossum is about 50 acres. Opossums are omnivores who prefer to set up camp near readily available food sources. Opossums range in size from 24 and 33 inches long and typically weigh between 6 and 15 pounds. The Virginia opossum was once widely hunted and consumed in the United States. Virginia opossums live in most parts of the United States that are east of the Rocky Mountains, and along the west coast from British Columbia in Canada and to Baja California. Opossums are excellent climbers and will climb trees or hide in bushes when chased. In the United States the Virginia opossum is found east of the Rocky Mountains and in Canada in southwestern Ontario. 2 , 4, 5 , 11 , 18 , 22 , 24 , 29 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. They are excellent climbers, and they wrap their long prehensile tails around tree limbs for balance. They originally were found only in southeastern U.S., but in recent years their range has expanded west and north all the way into northern Minnesota. Except for higher elevations, opossums now occupy most human-occupied habitats in western Washington. Opossums originated in South America and entered North America in the Great American Interchange following the connection of the two continents. Opossums are wanderers, being nomadic and not staying in one specific territory. In the past half-century, opossums have extended their range and are now found in Canada. Opossums are related to kangaroos and other marsupials found in Australia. Opossums are nocturnal, meaning they venture out of their dens in the evening in search of food. These animals, around the size of a small cat, have 50 teeth. The length of possums ranges from the length of a human finger to four feet, while their weight ranges from six ounces to 32 pounds. Geographic Range. Adults weigh from 6 to 15 pounds. Opossums can, however, carry other diseases like tularemia, tuberculosis, spotted fever and toxoplasmosis. Thank you for signing up for text alerts! Opossums inhabit a wide variety of habitats. Opossum World is a unique, possum themed educational attraction located in Napier, New Zealand. Males are usually larger than females. One study provided a home range of approximately 11.5 acres but that is only an estimation. Their population is stable. They are not adept at digging, so they often utilize burrows that anothe… The opossum has a narrow, tapered head with a pointed muzzle, pink nose, black eyes and bluish-black ears that lack hair and look leathery. First name. The opossum’s home ranges are more often a longer course rather than a circle shaped course (McManus 1974). Message and data rates may apply. An adult opossum is about the same size as a house cat, but with much shorter legs. One study showed that one in every four dens in the range was occupied by the opossum. The common opossum and Virginia opossum are found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and Canada. Prior to European settlement of North America, the opossum was found only in Central America and the southeastern United States. ‘Possums’ have a pouch, so are marsupials just like kangaroos. You may encounter opossums in the back yards of houses, leading some people to worry about the threat these creatures pose to humans and their pets. Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) have a wide range throughout Central and North American, which continues to expand.Currently, Virginia opossums can be found from Costa Rica to southern Ontario, Canada. The opossum’s ancestors evolved in South America, and the creature invaded this continent about 800,000 years ago, following the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. The Virginia opossum has a total of 50 teeth, more than any other North American mammal. The Virginia opossum’s range extends throughout the United States, except in extremely mountainous or arid regions. The Opossum Society of the United States; Get News and Action Alerts. Their unspecialized biology, flexible diet, and reproductive habits make them successful colonizers and survivors in diverse locations and conditions. Their fur ranges in color from snow white to jet black, and their tail is nearly hairless and rat-like. The opossum is a marsupial of the order Didelphimorphia (/daɪˌdɛlfɪˈmɔːrfiə/) endemic to the Americas. Thanks to their whole acting-and-smelling-like-a-corpse … The only native marsupial (mammals with pouches) in North America, opossums are the size of a large house cat. Reply STOP to opt out. It is also found in southern Canada. They are very secretive, slow, and solitary. Though they aren't picky about where they hang out, opossums love trees and will stay aloft in trees as much as possible. The opossum (order Didelphimorphia) is the only marsupial found in the Americas. The flea has expanded its range to dogs, opossums, rats, mice and other animals. Male Virginia opossums may grow to 100 cm (40 inches) but average about 76 cm (30 inches) in total length (including the tail); females average about 72 cm (28 inches). with moderately long fur that ranges in color from white to dark gray. range due to the excessive movement of opossums. Virginia opossums inhabit Central America and the eastern half of the United States, as well as parts of the west coast, where opossums had just been introduced during the Great Depression. The biggest possums rarely grow beyond the size of a house cat. As marsupials, the pests carry their young in pouches. The name was adapted from the Native American Algonquin term ‘apasum’, which mean white animal. Typical opossum litter sizes range from as few as 4 to as many as 25 joeys. The species has expanded its range north and west during the past century. When the babies are born, they only weigh between one and two tenths of … They reside in a variety of homes including abandoned burrows, tree cavities, hollow logs, attics, garages or building foundations. They generally live around people in suburban and urban areas, foraging on a variety of foods as omnivores. The Grand Forks specimen marked a 137-mile northward range extension for the Virginia opossum, the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. Their colors are more diverse including black, chinchilla gray, and fox silver-gray and gold than those of opossums. A group of opossums is called a passel. Many opossum ranges overlap, and good quality habitats may support 20 opossums to the square mile. The animal lives in a wide range of habitats, … Opossums are considered a generalist species that can utilize a wide variety of foods and habitats. Opossum A relatively new mammal to Maine, ‘possums’ have expanded their range northward to become residents here. Both a local / tourist attraction and souvenir shop / gift shop. The cat flea rarely exchanges hosts, so it stays on the animal until the host’s death. The Grand Forks specimen marked a 137-mile northward range extension for the Virginia opossum, the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. In comparison to other opossums, it is rather cute, with a thick coat of fur, gray in color with extensive reddish or … Opossums, sometimes mistakenly called possums, are marsupials native to the Americas. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 110 or more species in 19 genera. Email address. Managing Opossum Problems The opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is a house cat sized mammal (4 -14 Ibs.) On a continental scale, it ranges from southeastern Canada south through New England to Florida, west to Minnesota, Nebraska and Texas, and south to middle America. Today the Virginia opossum’s range covers Central America from Costa Rica to Mexico and several parts of the United States. The opossum is common in wooded areas throughout Pennsylvania. The size of a house cat, males average about 3 kg (6.6 pounds), females about 2 kg (4.4 pounds). It was Captain John Smith who used the term opossum for the first time in 1608. The Central American Woolly Opossum is a medium-sized marsupial of the rainforests of Central America and northwestern South America. Opossum Habitat It is also found in Mexico and Central America. What Do Opossums Like to Eat? One should never handle dead wildlife directly. Mobile Number. The Virginia or American opossum, sometimes referred to as the possum, is the only marsupial that lives wild in the United States. Opossum World features a vast range of New Zealand manufactured Possum and Merino fashion knitwear available for purchase online. Although they prefer deciduous woodlands with streams, they use all habitats within their range. It has been introduced in several western states. Range Opossums are found in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, south through Central America. Opossums were once uncommon in northern portions of the United States. The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the single species found in the United States, but at least 103 species occur in the Western Hemisphere.The word "opossum" comes from the Powhatan or Algonquian name for the animal, which roughly translates as "white dog." They have become very common in urban, suburban and farming areas. Opossums like to eat a wide variety of foods, ranging from fruits, grasses, insects, mammals, birds, fish and even carrion. They tend to be solitary and nomadic and are primarily nocturnal in activity. They are not territorial to the extent that they defend their ranges from other opossums. THEY’RE CONSTANTLY SELF-GROOMING. 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