Ectoparasitic and phoretic arthropods of Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) in central Tennessee. During the breeding season (January to July in the United States), males and females find each other and mate. But, American southerners often shorten âopossumâ to âpossumâ.Â The name opossum is from an Algonquin Indian language which means, âwhite-facedâ. I must say that such tactics bring great success for the survival of the species. They are not rodents! However, opossums in the wild have a much lower life expectancy and do not commonly make it past their first year of life. It’s tough enough for them without our also being predators. And how little I knew about them. The North American Opossum is the only marsupial living in the north and parts of Center and South America. They are the smallest of the possums. This short lifespan is due in part to the presence of many predators including dogs, cats and people. It isnât easy to get an older more experienced opossum to faint, but the younger ones may pass out more easily. Captive opossums normally live between 3-4 years, however up to 8-10 years has been described. - The life expectancy of an opossum in captivity has been found to be shorter than that of a wild-living opossum, which shows that they survive better in the wild. Last summer, I found a dead and mutilated opossum in my flower bed. The animal has the ability to excrete a musky greenish fluid from itsâ anal glands. During the breeding season (January to July in the United States), males and females find each other and mate. They avoid contact with humans, animals, and other opossums. Opossums don’t live long. The captive specimens have a maximum life expectancy of about 4 years. To anyone reading this I ask that you do not harm our wildlife. When my grandfather died, I told people I had eaten my last opossum.Â After learning about opossums, boy do I mean it. Lifespan: 2 years in the wild; 4 years in captivity. Opossum Biology, Life … They are known to live for three years in th… They arenât built for winter. The opossum, I am focusing on here is the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana). If you have opossum encounters or comments you would like to share feel free to add them to the comments below. There are also some real good photographs of Opossums on those pages also. They eat just about anything. The Virginia opossum, commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. It is familiar to many North Americans as they frequently inhabit settled areas due to the associated proximity to food sources, notably trash cans. The most common opossums in the Americas, Argentina, but recently they are actively developing more northern territories. The average female probably lives through one breeding season in which time she may raise two litters of approximately a dozen young. Reproduction & Lifespan Because they have few defenses against predators, Virginia opossums only live about two years. Opossums are generally very quiet. Length: 13-37 inches. The young are so small about twenty could fit in a teaspoon. I have had possums in my backyard for decades. Opossums are usually called Possums in North America. If the couple doesnât fall over the female doesnât conceive. A picture of a possum playing dead … Thanks for your information. MBD can progress to cause immobility and death, if not corrected quickly and appropriately! Males, females, and young also make clicking sounds. These animals cause no harm, only come at night, eat then go back to the woods. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. They can occur both in the plains and in the mountainous regions at altitudes of up to 4000 meters. Learn how your comment data is processed. The motherâs pouch makes the animal a marsupial. By mammalian standards, this is an unusually full jaw. It is a successful opportunist. But most of them still have a tree or land way of life. I have 2 possums that come onto my patio every night to eat the sunflower seeds I put out for them and drink water from my glass dishes. Opossum Lifespan. The Opossums family is found only in the Americas. A four-year old wild opossum is a rarity. It also has the ability to faint and appear dead. Possums also have a short lifespan; around three years or less in the wild. Opossums eat many ticks and other insects. After birth, the young must crawl three inches to the motherâs pouch. If bitten the opossum may have some mild discomfort, but it recovers quickly. By nature, the possum is very shy and at risk he pretends to be dead, lying motionless, and with the help of special glands gives off an unpleasant smell reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing body. Glaciers and the related cooling of the climate these territories affected less than Europe. They arenât pretending to be dead, they actually faint from fear. However, unlike American opossums, Australian possums have fairly longer lifespans. Many possums have frostbitten ears and tails which can lead to gangrene and death. Due to their appearance and size, the North American Opossum (also called Virginia Opossum) can seriously freak people out looking like an oversized rat. Muskrats, about the same size as an opossum, live 3 – 4 years, can have 1 – 4 liters per year averaging 6 – 7 young per liter. I donât know if the young are most vulnerable when they are tiny and in the pouch or when older. These animals are short-lived in captivity with a record longevity of 3 years . Opossum Life and Habitat. Iâll spare the mutilation details. Possum without the âoâ refers to an animal in Australia. Even those in captivity have a lifespan of only four years. It is a mammal and the only indigenous and wild (read: free) marsupial in North America. Their stomach has a small cecum and like many other marsupials, a forked penis with twin glands is also a physical characteristic of a male opossum. Virginia opossums are solitary, nocturnal and terrestrial; however, they are also very adept climbers and may den in trees. Quick note: Apparently, the opossum with an ‘o’ is the North American animal. They are characterized by a long, naked tail; a long, pointed snout; opposable thumbs in … But, please don’t condemn a healthy orphan to a life in captivity because of YOUR needs, instead of theirs. Look for frostbitten, blackened tips on their tails and ears. Learn about short-tailed opossums as pets including feeding tips, housing, and handling. Lifespan: 2 years in the wild; 4 years in captivity. 671 Sample size Small Data quality Acceptable Observations. Gestation lasts just two weeks. Opossums are solitary,Â quiet animals. During mating the male and female fall over on their right sides. Virginia opossums are solitary, nocturnal and terrestrial; however, they are also very adept climbers and may den in trees. Virginia Opossum. So, do the skunks. The opossum begins to show the signs of aging such as cataracts, motor coordination problems, and weight loss. Native Plants of Pennsylvania â Links and Plant Lists, Books about Native Plants and Ecological Gardening, Cavity Nesters: Birds that Use Holes in Trees, A Chipmunk's Winter Sleep (Torpor and Hibernation), Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly - Life Cycle, A Winter Bird Feeding Guide: Attract Birds to Your Backyard (with Video), Birds of Prey of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey: A Checklist, Virginia Opossum Facts, Lifespan, and Habitat, Keeping a Winter Nature Journal with Writing Prompts, amphibians and reptiles (including poisonous snakes). TOP SPEED. fruits, grapes, pokeweed, Pawpaws, berries including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. Even in captivity, opossums live only about four years.