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Fauna Feature: Virginia Opossum

Posted on 11/4/2020
by Environmental Education Staff
Opossums are North America's only marsupial. Learn more about these often misunderstood animals.

The Virginia opossum might look aggressive or frightening but these incredible animals are very beneficial to us & are very misunderstood. Take some time to get to know these special animals. 


Virginia opossums are the only marsupial found north of Mexico.

Marsupials have a pouch on their stomach where their babies develop and stay protected.

We are opportunistic eaters: our diet can include meat, plants, insects, dead animals, chickens, pet food, and rotting fruit.

We live in trees, holes dug by other animals, and even homes made by humans.

We are normally impervious to rabies and venomous snake bites!

We cannot hang by our tails, but we can use our prehensile tails to pick up nesting materials and help
with climbing.

We grow to about 30'' long and are about the size of the average house cat.

We help with the prevention of Lyme disease! One of us can eat up to 5,000 ticks in a season and we don't
contract or carry Lyme disease!

Contrary to popular belief, we are not aggressive animals. We have a special defense mechanism: when
stressed we will involuntarily "play dead" and even smell dead too!


Next Blog
Fauna Feature: White-tailed Deer (11/13/2020)
by Environmental Education Staff

Previous Blog
Celebrate National Bat Week October 24th - 31st! (10/22/2020)
by Kristen Bieret, Sac County Conservation Naturalist

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