Playing dead can last up to six hours, according to ADW. Opossum Society of the United States. These appendages are sometimes used as an extra arm: They can carry grass and leaves for building nests or grip the sides of trees to provide extra stability while climbing. They will not harm people or pets. When opossums play dead, they also secrete a bad smell and foam at the mouth to make themselves appear like a real dead animal to predators. In today's video we cover some interesting fun facts about them. The brushtail possum is probably the most common marsupial in Australia. If looks could kill, opossums would be some of the fiercest predators. Possums have no control over when they play dead or for how long they do it: The comatose-like state is an involuntary reaction triggered by stress. The word "opossum" comes from the Powhatan or Algonquian name for the animal, which roughly translates as "white dog." OTHER COOL OPOSSUM FACTS: They have 50 teeth (the most of any other mammal)! It was long assumed that opossums like to keep to themselves, but a study published in the journal Biology Letters suggests they have a social side. The largest species of possum is the cuscus. Throughout the 1970s prices for possum skins were good. The oft-maligned marsupial definitely suffers from an image problem — it is frequently perceived more as a giant, dirty, scavenging rat rather than a cute creature of the wild. They are light gray in color and basically look like big rats. Male opossums will often use clicking sounds to attract females during mating season. So what exactly are these cute fur balls? It is an arboreal species. If you’re lucky enough to see one, say hello. Additionally, females have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns. Fast Facts: Opossum. Opossums are the only marsupials that are native to North America. Opossums gestate for less than two weeks before being born. Columbia, MO: Dept. But they take cleanliness seriously: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife writes that possums, like housecats, use their tongue and paws to groom themselves frequently and thoroughly. According to the National Wildlife Federation, a single possum consumes 5000 of the parasites per tick season. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur. Thank you for listening. Opossums are sometimes called "Nature's Little Sanitation Engineers," since they often eat dead things and, by doing so, rid their habitats of disease. In North America, opossum and possum describe the same thing, but in... 2. That means the more possums that are in your area, the fewer ticks you’ll encounter. Opossums get a lot of hate. Like other marsupials, mother possums give birth to tiny, underdeveloped offspring (called joeys) that immediately crawl into a pouch where they live and nurse during their first months of life. New York Times, June 13, 2011. Consider these opossum facts before enticing them to stay: As scavengers, opossums will gladly consume pet food left outdoors. When the animal experiences intense fear in the face of danger, it seizes up and flops to the ground where it can remain for hours staring blankly ahead and sticking out its tongue. San Diego Zoo: Animal & Plants. Among the most well known of their respective types are the Virginia opossum and the brushtail possum. Their tails are prehensile and can be used to help them climb and hold onto tree branches. THEY’RE THE ONLY MARSUPIALS FOUND NORTH OF MEXICO. We get it; these critters make Norwegian rats look like beauty-pageant winners. The Brushtail Possum changes in colour and size depending on where they live. Opossums grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat. Here are five things you probably didn't know about the 'possum. Opossums have a natural tolerance for snake venom. Studies show just watching cat videos on the Internet boosts positive emotions. While possums aren’t totally immune to rabies (a few cases have been documented), finding a specimen with the disease is extremely unlikely. Their bodies are covered in white or grayish hair. All rights reserved. Is a Possum Nocturnal? Once possum populations got very high, trappers began to make a good living from hunting them. Call Enviro Safe Pest Control 1300 997 272 Accessed: March 30, 2019. © 2020 Fact Retriever LLC. POPULAR POSTS. An opossum's tail makes up 1/3 of its body length. They Rarely Have Rabies Researchers found that possums are better at remembering which runway led to a tasty treat than rats, cats, dogs, and pigs. They're Not Aggressive Possums are small to medium-sized marsupials with clawed, grasping hands and feet with five digits, a long, prehensile tail with a naked underside, and a slightly elongate muzzle Contact us: email@example.com. Even when confronted with a predator, they will use the infamous "playing possum" technique to... 2. Like other marsupials, opossums have thumbs, called an opposable hallux, on their paws. It has a bu… Opossums that live in captivity can survive on dog or cat food. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur. Opossums have a lifespan of two to four years. Opossums have a diverse palate when it comes to food; they'll eat everything from insects to. Researchers at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil observed some possums in captivity sharing dens even if they weren’t mates. Commonly known as "possums", these pests are the only marsupial native to the United States. Adult possums reach an average length of 30 – 35 cm and weigh 550 – 1100 grams. Read on for more opossum facts. Opossum Facts for Kids. They will flop down and be very still with their tongue hanging out to trick predators. Opossums are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Perhaps the most famous characteristic of the opossum is its tendency to play dead in front of predators. The Humane Society of the United States. One explanation they came up with was that male opossums impregnated females through the nose.