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Opossum

Didelphimorphia

Description:

Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials, with the largest just exceeding the size of a large house cat, and the smallest the size of a small mouse.

Habitat:

Found in both rural and urban areas. Most think of them as pests, but I think they are adorable! Didelphimorphs are opportunistic omnivores with a very broad diet. Their diet mainly consists of carrion and many individual opossums are killed on the highway when scavenging for roadkill. They are also known to eat insects, frogs, birds, snakes, small mammals, slugs, and earthworms. Some of their favorite foods are fruits, and they are known to eat avocados, apples, clementines, and persimmons. Their broad diet allows them to take advantage of many sources of food provided by human habitation such as unsecured food waste (garbage) and pet food.

Notes:

Opossums are usually solitary and nomadic, staying in one area as long as food and water are easily available. Some families will group together in ready-made burrows or even under houses. Though they will temporarily occupy abandoned burrows, they do not dig or put much effort into building their own. As nocturnal animals, they favor dark, secure areas. These areas may be below ground or above. When threatened or harmed, they will "play possum", mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. This physiological response is involuntary (like fainting), rather than a conscious act. In the case of baby opossums, however, the brain does not always react this way at the appropriate moment, and therefore they often fail to "play dead" when threatened. When "playing possum", the animal's lips are drawn back, the teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, the eyes close or half-close, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands. Their stiff, curled form can be prodded, turned over, and even carried away without reaction

No species ID suggestions

8 Comments

MaryEvans2
MaryEvans2 5 years ago

Thank you Nopayahnah

Maria dB
Maria dB 5 years ago

great description of how they play dead, too

MaryEvans2
MaryEvans2 5 years ago

Thank you all kindly. These were all taken in the city of Tallahassee, in a small area of trees where I like to take bird photos. Seems like the opossums return to this tree every year as I have many photos of them. I have nicknamed the tree my possum tree lol

KarenL
KarenL 5 years ago

Gorgeous! The last one is my favorite!

Stian Waaler
Stian Waaler 5 years ago

Great pictures, love picture #2

MihaiER
MihaiER 5 years ago

That's a lazy one... I think... Don't know anything about them...

MickGrant
MickGrant 5 years ago

Good job of spotting with this series!

Aaron_G
Aaron_G 5 years ago

Great spotting!

Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Lat: 30.44, Long: -84.28

Spotted on Oct 19, 2009
Submitted on Feb 10, 2012

Reference

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