Facts about possums

Opossum refers to the most ancient marsupial mammal. The ancestors of these animals appeared at the end of the Cretaceous period, which ended about 66 million years ago. Since then, their appearance has not changed much. Interesting facts about opossums tell more about these animals.

  • Opossums were first described by the Spanish chronicler of South America Pedro Cieza de Leon in 1553. In his book The Chronicle of Peru, he described this animal as a small fox with a long tail, short paws and brown color. He noted that he saw a female, who at the sight of the researcher hid her seven cubs in a bag and quickly ran away. Leon also noted that this local animal was called Chucha.
  • The structure of the dental system, bags and limbs of opossum is evidence of their primitiveness. By the way, all possums have 50 teeth.
  • Opposums inhabit North and partly South America, but some fossil species have been found in Europe. Most opossums from South America died out due to the natural connection of the two continents, as a result of which new species penetrated from north to south, to which opossums could not compete.
  • Opossums are primarily famous for their protective mechanism: a very frightened or wounded opossum pretending to be dead. At the same time the animal has foam from the mouth, eyes glaze, the glands emit even an unpleasant smell. Predator, sniffing opossum, often leaves, that saves the animal life.
  • Possums and opossums are different animals, although they belong to the marsupial infra-class. The possums live in Australia, New Guinea and the nearby islands, and opossums – in America.
  • Pregnancy of the female opossum lasts from 11 to 13 days. Like the babies of all marsupials, new-born possums are not adapted to independent life and develop in the mother bag. Newborn opossums are so small that 20 toddlers can fit in a teaspoon. When the offspring grows and no longer fits in the bag, it travels on the back or belly of the mother, clinging to her hair.
  • Incredible prolificity is distinguished by the Virgin possums, in which up to 25 calves are born. At the same time, some of them die, as the female has only 13 nipples.
  • Opossums on average live from five to eight years.
  • The bag of opossum females opens with a hole back, but in most species it is generally absent. In such females the cubs after birth simply hang on their nipples, clinging to the fur.
  • Opossums are omnivorous, they lead a predominantly terrestrial or woody lifestyle, and activity manifests at dusk or at night.