Critter Corner - Opossum
DID YOU KNOW:
The opossum is the only marsupial (animal with a pouch) in North
Sometimes Opossums will seek out food around your home, so keep
trash in metal containers and do not leave cat and dog food
bowls out at night.
After birth, the young must climb through their mother's fur
into a pouch on her abdomen. When the babies are 80 days
old, they begin spending time outside of the pouch, riding on
Mom's back. If you see a young opossum whose eyes are open
walking around, don't assume it is abandoned. Mom may
still be nearby, or it may be ready to live on its own.
Opossums are active year round and live in brush piles, hollow
trees or perhaps even under your porch.
You may see opossums in your neighborhood at night scavenging
for food. If you startle one, it may feign death, may
quickly retreat up a tree or it may use its fifty sharp teeth as
Opossums tails are not
enough to hang from branches, but they do use them to gather
leaves and to help hold on as they climb trees.
Opossums have thumbs on their hind feet
Fossils of opossums have been found that are 70 million
years ago. This means that opossums shared the earth
These marsupials eat bugs, slugs, snails and cockroaches.
They are Nature's Clean-up Crew.
To learn more about
(Photo Credits: Close-up of
opossum, Sharon Goff; Opossum on log, Bob Gress, Illinois Dept
of Natural Resources; Opossum carrying nesting material,
Missouri Department of Conservation)