Florida Fauna & Flora – Opossum

Florida Fauna & Flora – Opossum

Opossums are the only marsupials native to North America. Female marsupials give birth to underdeveloped young that then reside in an external abdomen pouch. In this pouch, up to to 14 young are suckled for about two months after birth. The young opossums begin life smaller than honeybees. Upon leaving the pouch they cling to their mother’s back for several weeks.


Mature opossums are larger than a house cat. Opossums have coarse, grayish-white hair, a pig-like snout, sharp claws, large naked ears and a long, hairless, scaly tail which is used to hang from tree branches. Opossums have 50 teeth – more than any other North American mammal – and eat almost any kind of animal or vegetable. When in danger, it lies motionless and pretends to be dead. This behavior gave us the expression “playing possum.”


Fun Opossum Fact: An opossum eats about 5,000 ticks during tick season, which according to the National Wildlife Federation helps stop the spread of Lyme Disease.


Read the full August 2019 SECO News online.

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