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|Common Opossum - Didelphis marsupialis|
|Topic Started: Jun 6 2012, 05:59 AM (286 Views)|
|Elephantus||Jun 6 2012, 05:59 AM Post #1|
Common Opossum - Didelphis marsupialis
Species: Didelphis marsupialis
The common opossum, also called the southern or black-eared opossum, is a marsupial native to Cental & South America.
It can be found living from the northeast of Mexico to Bolivia, including the Lesser Antilles, where it is called manicou.This opossum is found in tropical and subtropical forest, both primary and secondary, at altitudes up to 2200 m. They use a wide range of nest sites. Most commonly they will create one in the hollow of a tree; however, they will also dig a burrow or nest in any dark location if nothing else is suitable (which often gets them in trouble with humans).
The common opossum is similar in size to a house cat. With a body length of nearly a foot, and a tail that can reach almost 2 feet, the common opossum is one of the larger members of its family. They can weigh in at over 3 lbs.
The fur of the opossum is actually yellow in the under-fur, but is hidden by the longer black guard-hairs that cover it, while the tail, fingers, and face are lighter "with the tail being without fur, somewhat similar to a giant rat tail." It has large ears that are usually black, and its face is usually a pale peach in color, with black whiskers and eyes that reflect reddish in light.
Their activity is mainly nocturnal and terrestrial, with some arboreal exploration and nesting. Outside of mating they are usually solitary. They are considered pests due to their somewhat raccoon-like behavior. Raiding trash cans, nesting in locations that are not suitable, and causing mayhem if encountered within a human living space, they are often trapped and killed.
Common opossums have a broad ability to adapt to environmental changes, and their teeth allow them to eat many different types of food, which is obtained mostly on the ground. They can eat small insects, small animals, fruits, vegetables, and also carrion. Their ability to digest almost anything edible gives them a broader range than a human.
The female will have 5-9 offspring between one and three times per year after maturity. The mother raises the young by herself.
The common opossum lives for around 2.5 years.
Edited by Taipan, Jun 9 2012, 04:26 PM.
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