Virginia Opossum


Virginia Opossum
Didelphis virginiana

Also Known As: Possum

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Size: 13.78 to 37.01 in. with an average of 29.13 in; 0.66 to 14.08 lbs

Range: Found throughout most of North America; except in northern Minnesota, northern Michigan, and northern New England; east of the Rocky Mountains and along the West Coast

Habitat: temperate deciduous forests, farmlands, wetlands

Diet: Opossums are omnivorous. Their diets consist mostly of insects, carrion, small mammals, birds, and earthworms. They are also known to eat plants, fruits, and grains.

Breeding: 1 to 14 offspring; mating season from January to July; gestation is approximately 12 days

Nesting: Possums build nests in fallen or hollow trees, sheltered areas, or abandoned burrows.

Description & Behavior
Virginia opossums are nocturnal marsupials. Possums have long heads with pointed snouts that have long whiskers. The opossum has a heavy set body that has often been mistaken for a large cat in the dark. The possum’s tail is long and hairless with a scaly appearance. Female opossums have a fur-lined pouch in which she carries her young until they are weaned. There are regional differences in the opossum’s coloring, but most opossums appear grey or black and white.