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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)




Virginia Opossum | Didelphis virginiana photo
Virginia Opossum - urban life close up.

Photograph by karen.fromthelbc. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Virginia Opossum | Didelphis virginiana photo
Orphaned Virginia Opossum

Photograph by Vickie (jvas90). Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

VIRGINIA OPOSSUM FACTS

Description
The Virginia Opossum has a long head and pointed snout, with long whiskers. The body is shaped like a large cat and has a long pointed tail with a scaly appearance. Females carry their young in a fur-lined pouch. The fur is pale grey with white cheeks.

Size
Total length: 35cm - 94cm (average 74cm). Tail length: 22cm - 47cm. Males are larger than females. Weight: males 0.8kg - 6.4kg; females 0.3kg - 3.7kg

Environment
forest, rainforest. They prefer wet areas near streams and swamps

Food
Mainly insects and carrion. Also feed on some plants, fruit, grain

Breeding
A litter of 7 - 9 young is born after a gestation period of 13 days. The young weigh only 0.16 grams at birth. After about 60 days the young opossums leave the pouch, staying close to their mother, sometimes riding on her back. They are weaned after 95 - 105 days.

Range
From Central America and Mexico in the south, through the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and along the west coast. Range extends to Ontario in Canada.

Classification
Class:Mammalia
Order:Didelphimorphia
Family:Didelphidae
Genus:Didelphis
Species:virginiana
Common Name:Virginia Opossum