Now opossums are actively thriving in the New World. They like to eat my strawberries. Please expect that some links are affiliate links which raise a small amount of income to support the hosting of this blog. During the summer, I sleep with my bedroom window open. She could barely walk! Cold weather kills a number of them. This post is about the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), found in eastern North Amerca and introduced along the Pacific coast. Opossums are most active at night (nocturnal).  During the warm months, they are most active in the middle of the night. The Virginia opossum is North America’s only marsupial. Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. ... For more information on the lifespan of opossums, please read on. So, you will find them in forests, woodlands, and urban areas. After three months, the young are weaned and begin to roam away from the mother. Opossums don’t live long. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The incisors are very small, the canines large, and the molars are tricuspid. The average lifespan for the Virginia opossum is between two and four years. The lifespan of opossum in the wild reaches up to 5 years, in captivity with proper care and diet up to 7 years or more. Still these animals are notable sony, they can sleep up to 19 hours a day. More information can be found in the Encyclopedia of Life (links to another website). Being solitary animals, opossums avoid each other. Falling over seems to be crucial to conception. The life span of opossums is very short. Brown four-eyed opossum Lifespan, ageing, and relevant traits Maximum longevity 3 years (captivity) Source ref. They bed down in different dens each night. They are not good hunters but take advantage of easily obtained meals. having the capacity to move from one place to another. Most of the information on this website is free for you to read, watch, or listen to. Learn about short-tailed opossums as pets including feeding tips, housing, and handling. November 3, 2020 Uncategorized. Range lifespan Status: captivity 10 (high) years; Typical lifespan Status: wild 1.5 to 2 years; Typical lifespan Status: captivity 3 to 4 years; Range lifespan Status: wild 2.5 (high) years AnAge; Behavior. The more I learned, the more I realized, Virginia opossums are some of the weirdest animals I have ever come across. I hope you find my website useful. Most members of this order have long snouts, a narrow braincase, and a prominent sagittal crest. After this, the animal instantly “comes to life” and runs away. In captivity they like all kinds of juices Links To Opossum Pages For some real good information on Opossums, please visit the links listed below. The Privacy Policy is here. According to scientists, in prehistoric times, these animals were very widespread in the whole of modern Europe, this is evidenced by the excavation of paleontologists. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! An individual may wander over two miles in a night. An individual may live just a few months or a single year. I hear strange screeches and shrieks. In the United States, the animal is typically referred to simply as a possum. I hope you have enjoyed your visit here and thanks for taking the time to read about "Andy" and come back whenever you can. An opossum in captivity can live longer. oldest opossum in captivity. Their preferred food is insects, mostly beetles. AN OFFENSIVE ODOR SELLS THE PERFORMANCE. Young opossum may be eaten by adults. But, they don’t move too far from a temporarily available food source, like my ripening strawberries or blueberries. It was calm enough that I felt okay opening the cage and letting it walk out of the cage. Finally, I could have easily doubled the length of this post with more possum fascination. So, I set out to learn about these quiet, unassuming neighbors of mine. The dental formula is: 5.1.3.44.1.3.4 × 2 = 50 teeth. With such a short life span the trend is to get it done early and often, reproduce, that is. An opossum in captivity can live longer. Life span. I do sell inexpensive nature guides in the Book Shop. I realized how common this animal is in my neighborhood. So, that explains why I am often awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of animals fighting. Once born, the young instinctively crawl upward into the mother’s pouch where they will nurse for approximately fifty days. Few animals prey on opossums. The term ‘possum’ also refers to refer to … Opossums have a very short lifespan, usually three years or less in the wild, where they have to contend with predators and cars. Poor diets can lead to metabolic bone diseases that are expensive to treat and potentially fatal. Opossums, like most marsupials, have unusually short life spans for their size and metabolic rate. Additionally, it is illegal to keep an opossum without a wildlife rehabilitation license in almost every, U.S. state. The lifespan of opossum in the wild reaches up to 5 years, in captivity with proper care and diet up to 7 years or more. They don’t sleep in the same den regularly. They like cover and places to hide. The individual who designed these animals, must have a great sense of humor? Habitat: Found throughout Central America and North America. They share their unusually short lifespans with many other marsupials. Opossums don’t hibernate, they just are less active. When you learn about how opossums, ‘function’, you realize what a wonderful world we live in. That animal had apparently been in a fight and lost. However something like an Virginia Opossum when receiving a proper diet and care have been known to double their life span… Didelphis virginiana. This is a possum superpower. Luckily, I didn’t touch the opossum. The Virginia Opossum has a maximal life span in the wild of only about two years. Thanks! The opossum slowly walked out of the cage, glanced back at me, and disappeared into the underbrush in my garden. Predator, sniffing it, often leaves. After two weeks, eight or nine young are born. It’s late autumn/early winter, and I see dead possums. The dead opossums I saw around the corner from my house, had been run over by cars. Animal Class: Mammals. Besides humans, cars, dogs, foxes, and owls, the opossum is free from being hunted. An individual may live just a few months or a single year. I’ve seen several dead young opossums in the streets near my home. Behavioral and nutritional aspects of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). Besides, the suitability of an opossum for a pet is dependent on several factors. I accidentally trapped an opossum in a Havahart trap a few years back. Diet: Omnivorous, eating a wide range of plants and animals. Opossum mothers provide very little maternal care. 6 , 11 , 21 , 29 They eat meat the main part of their diet. They like hollow trees and branches, crevices, caves under rocks, soil, and leaf litter. Opossums live in forests of all types, steppes and even semi-deserts. Scientific name: Didelphis virginiana (Virginia opossum), Didelphis marsupialis (Common opossum) Size: 2.5ft (76cm) from head to tail Weight: 8.8 to 13.2lb (4 to 6kg) Lifespan: Two years in the wild; Can reach four years of age in captivity IUCN conservation status: Least Concern There was a female a couple of months ago loaded down with babies but have not seen her – or she has left the babies somewhere else. Thanks for visiting. Possums also have a short lifespan; around three years or less in the wild. It is extremely difficult to find the right balance in their diet in captivity and an unbalanced diet can result in severe metabolic disease. It is not a matter of IF the opossum will become ill, it is a matter of when!. Any ’surplus’ young die from lack of a teat (food). They eat carrion. Now and then a skunk joins a possum and they bump into each other while eating but there is never a “discussion”. Wild opossums have a relatively short lifespan of approximately 1.5-2 years. Short-tailed opossums can be friendly, social pets. We see many cases of Metabolic Bone Disease (nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism) in opossums that have been fed poor diets. Although their lifespan in captivity may be as long as five years, in their natural habitat opossums don’t generally tend to live past the age of two years. 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 … They also live in the southeast of Canada and the Lesser Antilles. They can make a few standard sounds. Virginia Opossum Courtship and Mating. During the colder seasons, small vertebrates tend to make up a larger portion of their diet, whereas in the warmer seasons, they consume more invertebrates, plant material, fruits and seeds. Opossums will eat possum young or another possum at any time. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Or both. In captivity, the oldest recorded opossum was four years and five months old. As many of you know, I grew up in a family of fishing-hunting-trapping-gardening-farming-foraging southerners. There are 75 species of opossums in North, Central, and South America. The mother has thirteen teats, of which only seven to ten actually give milk. Weight: Up to 14 pounds. I only recommend products and services that I use and believe to be useful and high quality. They share their unusually short lifespans with many other marsupials. It is possibly opossums getting in scraps with other animals. Animal Control took the dead body away the next day. They may snap out of it minutes or hours later. Now this question really has a lot of variables. Their scientific name is Didelphimorphia. They tend to be semi-arboreal omnivores, although there are many exceptions. It is a solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat. At my grandparents’ home, I’ve eaten a wide variety of unconventional meats. In winter, opossums are more active during the day. This is what people call ‘playing possum’. Short-Tailed Opossum Behavior and Temperament . The Virginia Opossums are absent from the Plains and arid southwest of the United States. A possum will normally weigh between three and eight pounds, and the brain case of the animal is so small that the skull has a prominent bone ridge whose sole purpose is to give the possum a large enough cranial surface area for the jaw muscles to attach to. A note from one of our members … "I hear that you are thinking about trying to keep a wild opossum baby as a pet, and want to share with you my recent heartbreaking experiences. In captivity, they may survive for longer, if proper nutrition and care are received from a qualified handler. Opossum Feces – Appearance And Health Risks Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. Whales for example have not been known to live their natural life span when placed in captivity. Their prepared habitat is wooded or shrubby. The mother will clean the pouch and any young there, but that is it. Opossums are immune to the poison of snakes of the pit viper family (crotalid) such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water mocassins. The oldest opossum ever captured in the wild was only three years old. They also eat: Some animals will turn to cannibalism in extreme circumstances. Opossums are scavengers, cannibalistic, and omnivores. They wander most in summer. Very interesting is the protective mechanism of these animals, it deserves special attention. ... Life Expectancy: 4 to 8 years in captivity. Being solitary animals, opossums avoid each other. Breath. There are species that lead a semi-aquatic life, settling near water bodies, building holes in tree hollows. The dead one in my garden lost a fight. Opossum’s lifespan can vary in the wild and in captivity. Opossums don’t make dens but sleep in abandoned dens of other animals. I always enjoy seeing these slow, gentle relatives. In the pouch, the young must attach themselves to a teat. I don’t know what to say, except don’t try this at home. Sometimes my cat and my neighbor’ cat are lying around out there too and all ignore one another. Opossums are quite nomadic in their home ranges. Very interesting is the protective mechanism of these animals, it deserves special attention. The Virginia opossum is thought to live as long as two years in the natural habitat. In this way, they keep an ecosystem clean and healthy. Opossums will communicate with hisses, growls, and screeches in hostile encounters with animals and humans. How Many Babies Can a Possum Have? They have to deal with predators and human intrusions. Opossums, or possums, are the smallest and the stupidest of American terrier quarry. The opossum has an average lifespan of 1 to 2 years. Virginia Opossums are found in Eastern North America from southern Maine, Southern Canada, and Michigan to South Dakota; south through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica. I’m glad that didn’t happen. I’m happy to have them around. I always think its’ raccoons, possums, and cats, having disagreements. In captivity, they can live twice as long .
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 “opossum” to “possum”.  The name opossum is from an Algonquin Indian language which means, ‘white-faced’. 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 isn’t 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 its’ 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.  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 aren’t 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 doesn’t fall over the female doesn’t 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 mother’s 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 mother’s 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 aren’t 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 don’t 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. I’ll spare the mutilation details. Possum without the “o” 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,  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 – 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.