I came home and found this little girl trying to find some shelter in our garage. Kinda weird since it’s so late in the year and she’s so small, but she definitely came to the right place. Lucille (Lucy) is our newest rescued addition. She’s a little freaked out right now, but she’s very sweet and I know with enough handling she’ll be very friendly.
I did some research on these little guys and opossum are actually super fucking interesting and downright rad.
Opossum are marsupials and actually aren’t related to rats despite their rat like tails (which they use for balance and grasping branches) and appearance. They’re actually more closely related to kangaroos and koala bears since opossum have pouches for their young. But opossum are the only marsupial in North America.
These little dudes have been around since before us! They can be traced back 70 million years ago with the dinosaurs! Besides the fact they’re not super good at defending themselves, they must be doing something right to be around for so long.
Despite their bad reputation, Opossum are actually very clean and are resistant to most diseases, including rabies. In fact, if a rattlesnake or some other poisonous snake bit them, they would be resistant to it with only a little swelling, but no death.
These little badass’s have over 50 teeth! That’s more than any land mammal in North America. Along with its teeth, it also even has opposable thumbs on its hind feet for tree and branch grasping.
Opossum have earned the nickname of “Natures Little Sanitation Engineer” due to the fact of how helpful they are in local areas by eating pests and rodents along with a lot of insects like cockroaches, crickets, and beetles.
Wait, is there a difference between possums and opossums? I thought that they were the same thing.
Okay this has been sitting in my inbox for MONTHS and im finally on my laptop so here we go
So there IS a difference between opossums and possums.
An opossum is the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. The are what i post most about, despite my url being possumkingdom (and honestly what most possum themed blogs post….in America I think people mostly use the term possum so it’s easy to think there is no difference between possums and opossums. Opossums look like this
Notice pouch in pic 1. Pic 2 is size comparison. So they are about the size of a cat except shorter legs.
Possums are native to Australia and surrounding islands. They are “cuter” (even though opossums are pretty darn cute!) I don’t know much about them, honestly, but I do know they don’t play dead, unlike the American opossum!
Here are some pics
Look at that tail! They look a lot like cats to me.
So yeah thats the difference! Completely different animals, just both marsupials that are similar sizes.
This winter we’ve had a little visitor at our backyard bird feeder. We’ve seen this opossum a couple times now, we can always tell its him because he’s small and has an adorable pattern of white splotches on his back. What a cutie~
Here’s a little fun fact: Opossums are North America’s only marsupial, and they evolved in South America.