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

6 – 10 lbs

30 - 37 in

10 - 21 in

12 - 13 days

5 - 21

IUCN Status
Least Concern
Virginia opossum

The Virginia opossum is the only living North American marsupial. They have a hairless, prehensile tail. They also have 50 teeth, more than any North American land mammal.

Are immune to the venom of a variety of snakes including rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and moccasins

Virginia opossum

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.

Virginia opossum

The Virginia opossum 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.

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.