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Another group of possums is the ringtails, which reside in communal nests called dreys. Most possums live in the hollows of tall trees, but the common ringtail possum builds nests known as ‘dreys’ in bushes or trees. Possums are a suborder of 70 tree-living marsupial species native to Australia and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea and Sulawesi. All rights reserved. Unlike many other possum species, these solitary, nocturnal creatures are highly adapted to living near humans, even in urban areas such as Sydney. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. They are closely related to the Kangaroo and Koala. Possums are versatile and adaptable. They are efficient swimmers and climbers. Opossum typically refers to the Virginia opossum and its cousins in the genus Didelphis, all of which live in North and South America. 10. Possums are nocturnal marsupials. ; The average size of opossums, both males and females, is 2.5ft (76cm) from head to tail. Here are 13 Interesting Opossum facts. While some species, like the common brushtail possum, are doing well, many possum species are in danger of extinction. Possums vary in size, from positively tiny to the size of a large cat. [3] Captain John Smith, an English explorer, is credited with naming the opossum during his visit to the New World in 1608. They are considered as one of the major marsupials that are found in the Western Hemisphere. For more videos about wildlife please subscribe :)Royalty free content brought from pond5.com and/or bigstockphoto.com These nocturnal creatures also consume plant matter. The Virginia or American opossum, sometimes referred to as the possum, is the only marsupial that lives wild in the United States. Their unspecialized biology, flexible diet, and reproductive habits make them successful colonizers and survivors in diverse locations and conditions. Related facts about Sharks Platypuses Horses Dogs Lemurs Gorillas. Opossums really do play dead. Possums include any of several species (from the family Phalangeridae) of nocturnal, arboreal marsupials of Australia and New Guinea, and were mistakenly named in the 18th century when the naturalist from Capt. They use their sharp claws, tails and mouth to climb trees. Where Do Possums Live? They are light gray in color and basically look like big rats. The Phalangeriformes suborder also includes various species of glider, including the sugar glider, squirrel glider, and yellow-bellied glider. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/possums-gliders.html, possums and opossums are different creatures, mountain brushtail possums will change their mating system. The American possum is actually called an "opossum." According to the Opossum Society, litter size can be up to 13 babies, and the mothers feed their babies in their pouch for 2 - 3 months. Like other marsupials, opossums have thumbs, called an opposable hallux, on their paws. This order consists of more than 103 that are further classified into 19 genera. … [3] Opossums are the only marsupials that are native to North America. The opossum is the only species of marsupial (mammals with a pouch in which they carry their young) that is found outside of Australia an it’s surrounding islands. The ancestors of these animals appeared at the end of the Cretaceous period, which ended about 66 … Ten fun facts about Possums. Common brushtail possum. As their name suggests, brushtails have long, thick tails with a prehensile tip and a furless patch on the underside, both of which help them hang onto tree branches. Opossums have a long, pointed face with round, hairless ears and a rat-like tail. These curious marsupials have evolved flaps of skin between their arms and legs, called patagia, that allow them to launch themselves out of the canopy and soar to tree branches below. Even after they have weaned, the young of many marsupial species will still duck into the female’s pouch to stay warm and safe from predators. These animals, around the size of a small cat, have 50 teeth. They use their sharp claws, tails and mouth to climb trees. 6. It Can Have An Unpleasant Odor. Fiordland and Northland were the last areas of New Zealand to be invaded by possums. Sometimes this trick will allow opossums to escape. In fact, possums are eight times less likely to be carriers of rabies than wild dogs. Opossums are so often misunderstood but they are great creatures to have around. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Their weight ranges anywhere from less than an ounce to over 10 pounds. The name "possum" is a misnomer. The opossum’s population is on an increasing trend particularly in the northwestern range. The lips of baby possums and other marsupials will actually fuse shut around the teat, ensuring that they are not easily separated from the lifeline between mother and offspring. General Opossum Facts. It mainly lives in the US. 1-5 Opossum Facts 1. What Do Possums Eat and Are They Dangerous?. Opossums, sometimes called possum, benefits your garden by ridding it of small insects and pests. They are regarded to be quite intelligent. The average size of this possums body is 26cm, whilst its tail is a much longer 32cm. Both of the English words possum and opossum come from aposoum, which means “white animal” in Powhatan, a Native American language. Many of the same threats imperil the critically endangered western ringtail possum. One species, the feathertail glider, can “fly” up to 65 feet. [3] [5] Facts about possums. Instead of shooing them away, let them hang around and they’ll clean up ticks, venomous snakes, discarded birdseed, and more. The Virginia opossum occupies much of the North America and Central America including southern Ontario, Costa Rica, and Rockies. Fun Facts for Kids. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 110 or more species in 19 genera. Opossums grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat. Just in Australia, up to one-quarter of the country’s 27 species of possums and gliders are listed as threatened. They are natural pest removers. They weigh about 1.4 to 6.4 kg and are between 65 and 95 cm in length. POSSUM FACTS. Average Size: 21-36" long (including tail); 4-15 lbs. Likewise, the mahogany glider is listed as endangered due to the rapid rate at which its habitat is being cleared for agriculture, livestock, and timber. They live in holes in the trees. Commonly known as "possums", these pests are the only marsupial native to the United States. I have listed my Top 7 Opossum facts about these amazing creatures! Adults are about the size of an average house cat … They also eat nectar, flowers and fruit. Check out these 10 fun facts about possums. This includes the beetles, slugs, and snails which damage garden plants. Fact 1. The possum has a pretty long tail which makes up … Thanks to fires, logging, and climate change, the fairy possum, or Leadbeater’s possum, is considered critically endangered. Milk is critical to the babies’ growth, which means that any young that cannot find and latch onto a nipple will perish. Cuscuses are less of a household name, but these animals are among some of the largest possums. Fact 2. Opossums have five toes on each foot and a tail with no fur. By 1950 possums were found in over half of New Zealand and they kept spreading. Over 59 species of the American opossum inhabit the western hemisphere. Thank you for listening. Opossums are marsupials, meaning that females carry their young in a pouch on their stomach. It can also be found Chile, Argentina, northern Mexico, and south Canada. Are Possums Nocturnal? It is because of their biolo… They are efficient swimmers and climbers. Possums feed on many animals that we consider to be pests, such as rodents, insects, snails, slugs and even some types of birds. Possums have no control over when they play dead or for how long they do it: The comatose-like state is an involuntary reaction triggered by stress. The Brushtail Possum changes in colour and size depending on where they live. While possums are mainly herbivores, they have also been known to eat insects and birds’ eggs. Scientific Name of the Virginia Opossum: Didelphis virginiana. They're actually called "opossums" Imgur/RoadTripped. And like koalas, they have evolved the ability to feed on plants that would be poisonous for other animals. Additionally, females have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns. Playing dead can last up to six hours, according to ADW. ; Opossums have 50 teeth.Males tend to have larger canines compared to females. Like all marsupials, possums have pouches and give birth to live young. For instance, the Sulawesi bear cuscus (Ailurops ursinus), named for its coat of thick, dark fur, can weigh up to 22 pounds. Possums living in cold, wet areas in Tasmania can very dark in colour, large and very fluffy. Possums are generally regarded as pests when folks find them lurking in their yard or near their homes in the middle of the night. These thumbs are on the back feet as well as on the front feet. Opossums benefit humans in many ways, helping control a number of unwanted pests. Average weight is 8.8 to 13.2lb (4 to 6kg). Some scientists have suggested that this acts as an enemy deterrent. They are then carried around on the mother's back for another 1 - 2 months. Is a Possum Nocturnal? Fact 1. There are more than 60 different species of opossum. Adult possums reach an average length of 30 – 35 cm and weigh 550 – 1100 grams. Some gliders take multiple mates, which is called polygamy, while others are monogamous, and still more are variants in between. One study found that mountain brushtail possums will change their mating system depending on how much food is available. They’re docile, unlikely to threaten pets or carry disease, and they help keep pest populations under control. Possums are small marsupials with thick, bushy tails, thick body fur, and a pointed snout and ears. Possums may also prey on insects, small invertebrates, and eggs. They live in holes in the trees.Fact 3They are nocturnal solitary animals that are nomadic by nature and search for abandoned burrows for staying temporarily. When in trees, this animal is able to move very fast, leaping from branch to branch with agility. They also became part of the North America following the Great American Interchange. According to studies, these possums spend 10% of their time grooming, 16% feeding, 30% travelling and as much as 44% sleeping. Opossums are almost the size of a domestic cat.Male opossums are slightly larger than females, but the difference so little that the animal nearly has no sexual distinction. Top 10 Facts About Possums Fact 1: Diet Possums are mainly herbivores (plant eaters), favouring eucalyptus and other leaves, ferns, buds, flowers and fruits. Possums mainly eat eucalyptus and other leaves. For instance, the rock-haunting possums from tropical Australia appear to choose just one mate, which scientists call monogamy. Their tails are prehensile and can be used to help them climb and hold onto tree branches. These newborns are no bigger than honeybees and are typically blind and deaf. Far more interesting than most people give them credit for lurking in their yard or near their in... As pests when folks find them lurking in their yard or near their homes in middle! 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