angry young opossum

Opossum

Order: Marsupialia
Family: Didelphidae
Genus: Didelphis
 

Opossums are North America's only marsupial (pouched mammal). 

Opossums have opposable thumbs on their rear feet and can also grasp with their tails. 

opossum can be dangerous - handle with careOpossums clean up our neighborhoods and help our gardens by eating snails, slugs, insects, snakes, rats, carrion and overripe fruit. 

 Opossums are highly resistant to diseases (including rabies) and snake bites. 

 Opossums in extreme danger may "play 'possum." This coma-like state can last up to four hours, during which time the opossum will become stiff, drool, and have extremely slow, shallow breathing. Most predators will give up the attack, believing the opossum to be dead.

opossumAn opossum mother may carry as many as thirteen babies in her pouch. Babies are most common between February and June. 

 Opossums are at greatest risk from humans, domesticated pets, and cars. Often, an opossum mother killed by a car will have uninjured babies in her pouch. Opossums that survive until adulthood usually live only 1 to 2 years. 

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