Virginia Opossum

Virginia Opossum

Virginia Opossum
Didelphis virginiana


CLASS
Mammalia
ORDER
Marsupialia
FAMILY
Didelphidae

Range

Eastern United States and adjacent Canada, west to central Texas and south to Central America


Habitat

Prefers wooded areas but will come near houses and gardens


Diet

Insects, fruit, berries, vegetables, birds, eggs

Weight

6 – 10 lbs.

Body Length

30 – 37 in.

Tail Length

10 - 21 in.

Gestation

12 – 13 days

Young

5 – 21

IUCN Status

Least Concern

Facts

  • It is the only living North American marsupial.
  • When playing possum they will remain still, will not blink, and their tongue will hang out. They are able to remain completely still in the fainting state for less than a minute or up to 6 hours.
  • Are immune to the venom of a variety of snakes including rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and moccasins
  • It has 50 teeth, more than any North American land mammal.
  • They have a hairless, prehensile tail.
  • Has the shortest gestation period of any North American mammal (12 – 13 days).
  • Newborns are smaller than a dime, very underdeveloped, blind, and helpless.
  • Young stay in the pouch for approximately 2 months, remaining attached to the nipple for about 7 weeks.

 

Conservation

The Virginia opossum is common and widespread. There are no major threats to this species. Opossums are hunted and trapped for food and fur in certain areas of their range, but the majority of mortality is caused by collision with motor vehicles.

Least Concern

Open Daily 9 am - 5 pm

Closed only Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Day

Address

Alexandria Zoo
3016 Masonic Drive
Alexandria, LA 71301
P: (318) 441-6810

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