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Letters to Nowhere

Friday, November 04, 2005

What is a Opossum?

For those who didn't have a freaking clue what a opossum was in my previous post.

Originally uploaded by red clover.
Opossum.. pronounced "poss (like toss) - um" Our only North America marsupial.

--copied from The Opossum Society of the US--

Despite its appearance, the opossum is not related to the rat. In fact, the opossum is a marsupial, or "pouched" mammal, and is therefore related to other marsupials such as the kangaroo and the koala. Like kangaroos and koalas, infant opossums stay inside the mother's pouch to nurse and develop. The opossum holds the distinction of being North Americas's only marsupial.

Opossums are born after an 11-13 day gestation period. The pink, embryonic-looking infants are so small at birth that 20 could fit into a teaspoon. The infants continue to develop inside the pouch. As they grow and the pouch becomes full, the juveniles then ride on the mother's back until they are old enough to go out on their own.

The opossum has many interesting features. It has 50 teeth, more than any North American land mammal. Its hairless tail is prehensile and is used for grasping branches, balancing and carrying nesting material. The opossum does not hang upside down by the tail, a common misconception. The opossum also has opposable thumbs on its hind feet for holding onto branches.

Whether rural, residential or in the wilderness, opossums are a benefit to any area they inhabit. Their diet includes all types of bugs and insects including cockroaches, crickets and beetles. They love snails. They also eat mice and rats. The nocturnal opossum is attracted to our neighborhoods by the availability of water, pet food left out at night and overripe, rotting fruit that has fallen from trees.

copied from www.opossumsocietyus.org

Don't let the cuteness fool you. They can be vicious lil bastards if they feel threatened.
Found under the neighbors car.


  • I see those all over the place here. I think they are cute, but I understand their need *ahem* demand for space!

    By Blogger Justice, at 6:07 PM  

  • awe thanks jenn...I am happy to have learned 2 things today..1.what an opossum is and 2. as cute as they seem to look, I am damn happy we dont have them here that I know of (too many damn teeth) lol

    By Blogger moon, at 1:08 AM  

  • these things are ugly as hell and i dont no way people would wont them as a pet there ugly and they smell

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:39 PM  

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