Geographical Range Southern Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America
Habitat Forests, woodlands, grasslands, swamps
Scientific Name Didelphis virginiana
Conservation Status Common

The opossum is North America’s only living marsupial (pouched mammal). Although it is found in a wide range of habitats, it seems to prefer wet areas near streams or swamps. Its food choices are also varied, including insects, dead animals, fruits and grain. Interestingly enough, an opossum has 50 teeth -- more than any other North American land mammal.

Opossums are mostly solitary animals; though females can tolerate each other’s presence, males tend to fight each other. They are fairly short-lived animals, rarely reaching more than two years of age. Young opossums can hang by their tail, but full-size adults seem to be too heavy for this trick.

Did You Know?

Opossums do, in fact, play dead. When threatened, they go limp and their breathing is almost undetectable. Only when the danger is passed do they stop "playing possum."