Possums are masters of pretense. At moments of danger, they pretend to be dead and, to make their state realistic, even begin to exude a corresponding “fragrance”. Previously, all types of possums lived exclusively in South America, but one species so multiplied that eventually penetrated into North America and now this once southern species is called the North American opossum.
These are small animals, the size of a cat, some species – a little less. The shape of the muzzle is reminiscent of rats. The main attraction of an opossum is its long grasping tail, on which it can hang upside down for a long time. In the warm season, the tail is thinned, but by the winter its fat deposits are often deposited at its base.
Fur “coat” is short, but very thick. Color, depending on the type, varies from light gray to dark or even black. The paws are short, but very tenacious. The thumb on the hind legs is opposed to all the rest (as we have on the palm). In the water possum on the hind limbs, long membranes are located between the fingers.
They live everywhere: in forests, semi-deserts, steppes, on plains and even in mountains. The main thing is that there is a source of water nearby. Most species lead a terrestrial and woody lifestyle and only one of them is semi-aquatic. It is a water opossum. These animals are hunting at night, and in the daytime they sleep in a hollow or in their nest. He sleeps a lot and can sleep up to 19 hours a day.
Appetite they do not hold. When choosing a meal, do not be capricious and ready to eat everything that comes under the foot – wild fruits and fruits, juicy leaves, crops, insects, small lizards and even mice. Bird eggs, crayfish and crabs are already the highest delicacy.
They are single animals. Only in the mating season they briefly merge into pairs, after which they again run to all four sides. “Marriage” lasts only some 12 days. Pregnancy lasts no more. New-born possums, like many young marsupials, have tiny dimensions.
The females have a brood pouch that opens not forward, like a kangaroo, but backwards. On the abdomen she has only 12 nipples, and about 20 newborns are born. Therefore, immediately after birth, they will have the very first test in their life – the “path for survival”, where the winners receive the main prize – life.
They grow like a yeast. For 2 weeks grow in size of 5-7 centimeters. After 2 months or less, they drop their mother’s milk and begin to crawl out of the bag. It seems big already, but with the slightest fright or rustle they rush headlong back to Mom and climb into the bag.
After a while they just physically do not fit there and all amicably move to the female on the back. Sometimes it is very funny to watch a picture when a small female already barely moves her legs under the weight of her “precious cargo”, but she will not leave a single baby.
Some types of possums, for example, woolly or mouse, do not have a bag, and their tiny cubs have to literally hang like icicles, tightly clinging to their mother’s nipples and fur.
Opusums have their favorite game “Pretend Dead”, which often saves their lives. The main rule is to competently pretend to be dead. Just at such moments, and manifest in all its glory actor’s abilities. Seeing the threat, the animal falls to the ground, his eyes are glassy, the mouth opens, and foam starts to go from his mouth. As the final effect of the play, they release a secret from the anal glands with an unpleasant odor. Predator, circling around this “dead man” a couple of circles, runs away. As soon as the enemy leaves, the possum jumps up and runs away into the forest.