Mammal

Opossum

Area: 
North America
Habitat: 
Open woodland and brushland
Food: 
Insects, snails, berries, fruit, and small rodents
Size: 
2½ feet long from nose to tail tip
Babies: 
The size of a honeybee at birth, babies stay in mother’s pouch for about 2 months.
The opossum is the only marsupial in North America.
Awesome, Opossum!

 

Body text: Some animals are famously fast, but opossums are best known for the times when they don’t move at all! If an opossum is threatened, the first thing it does is hiss and show its sharp teeth. If the predatorAn animal that hunts and kills other animals for its food. doesn’t back off, the opossum rolls over, goes stiff, and stays perfectly still, as if it were dead. Some predators lose interest and go away. After a while, the opossum “wakes up” and goes on its way.

 

Opossums are good climbers. Grasping branches with a prehensileRefers to a body part that can be used like a hand for grasping or holding. tail and sharp clawsThe fingernails of an animal, such as a bear or cat. They help to grab prey. In birds, they're called talons., an opossum moves easily in a tree, looking for food. It can also use its feet to hang on, because it has opposable thumbs, just like you.

 

When a female opossum gives birthThe beginning of an animal's life., her babies crawl up her fur into a pouch. Inside, each baby puts a nipple in its mouth and drinks milk. After a couple of months, the babies leave the pouch and ride on their mother’s back for about a month. After that, the youngsters follow their mother around to learn where and how to find food.