The opossum is one of the oldest mammals that has survived on earth, earning it the name ‘living fossil’. More than 60 different species exist but the most common is the Virginia opossum, or simply common opossum, and it is the only pouched mammal (marsupial) to be found in the United States and Canada.
The possum is certainly a good climber because of its natural lifestyle. Its distinctive features include a pointed face and large ears, and an adult possum is about the same size as a house cat.
Possums are naturally den dwellers, whether in the wild or urban centres. They make their dens in any available space that is dry and accommodating. Examples of possum den sites include abandoned dens of other mammals, rock crevices, hollow stumps or fallen logs and on trees. Spaces where humans live are not left out. Tree tops are one of the favourite abodes of the Possum.
They would line their dens with nesting material gathered and collected with their reprehensible tail. These materials include dried twigs, leaves, and grass. Opossums are often found in wooded areas that have water running through
Typical of a tree-dwelling species, Possums are excellent climbers. They can practically take on any size of tree, and even climb wood or wire fences. They bypass elevations with the aid of overlapping limbs of trees or shrubs and possum paws are such that they can easily fasten onto any tree trunk.
Being nocturnal animals, possums forage at night and can be seen frolicking on the trees after dark.
An adult possum is about the same size as a house cat, but has much shorter legs that enable it to climb well. The fur is generally gray but may also vary from white to brown to black. Also distinctive, is a long, naked, prehensile tails, which is adapted for grasping items and for maintaining stability while they are in a tree. Possums possess opposable, clawless thumbs on their rear limbs, also for grasping things. All of these features help the possum in its tree-climbing and tree-living lifestyle.
Possums are referred to as Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineers. This is because they contribute a great deal to keeping the environment clean and healthy by eating a lot of cockroaches, rats and dead animals.
Possums are crafty dodgers. When threatened by a bigger predator or faced with danger, the Possum would play dead. This act is referred to as playing Possum.
Read more on the How to Get Rid of Opossums