Opossums are one of the strangest creatures in North America. They
are the only marsupial on the continent, cousins to the kangaroo.
Being a marsupial means, they raise their babies in a pouch located
on their upper belly. The female opossum has a double uterus and the
male has a forked penis so he can impregnate her twice at the same
time. They are extremely adaptable, and have excellent survival
instincts. People often mistake them for a rodent because of their
grey scruffy fur, long snouts, and naked tale, but they are not.
They can range in size from a large mouse to that of an average size
Opossums are one of nature’s best exterminators. They eat huge
amounts of bugs including ticks and mosquito larvae. They also eat
small invertebrates and other mammals (like rodents), eggs,
amphibians, and carrion. They are immune to the venom of most
poisonous snakes, and are rarely susceptible to rabies, although
they can carry the disease. They have bare feet with five toes on
each, however, on their back foot the fifth digit is opposable
allowing them to climb and hold on to things with an iron grip. At
12-14 days, the fertilized eggs inside the female hatch and transfer
to her pouch, where they will live and nurse. Around 90 days of age
they are weaned, and leave the pouch.
They will remain with their mother until it is safe for them to
leave. Opossums age quickly and so have short life span, living only
2-4 years. They are solitary creatures, coming together with other
opossums only to breed, and females will live with their young.
There are rare occasions in the wild where opossums have burrowed
together in groups during periods of extremely bad weather. They
live a very nomadic life and spend all their time hunting the
necessities. They like to live under abandoned structures, but will
rarely fight to keep their home unless they have babies. If they
choose to fight, they secrete an offensive odder that runs off many
predators, and their teeth and claws are razor sharp. Most often
they choose to “play dead” in hopes that the predator will decide
they smell too bad to eat.
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