Monday, August 15, 2011

Opossums are cute!

Opossums are really cute critters!

Sometimes they get a bum rap because they are misunderstood.

Our Animal Ambassador Petey!

A very young opossum....

A 5 month old opossum in our rehabilitation program.....

All about Opossums!

Virginia Opossums are the only marsupial native to the United States, which means the female carries the young in her pouch. She carries them until they are old enough and big enough to run around on their own a bit while learning to scavenge with her, which is at a few months of age.

They are excellent climbers with their unique paws. Opossums cannot hang from their tail-- they use the prehensile tail to help them grab onto the items they are climbing, like a tree limb, fence, or up the arm of one of the keepers! If you grab an opossum by their tail, they can have their spinal cord severely damaged.

Opossums are scavengers-- they do not actively hunt for food. They are looking for an easy food source. This can be a compost pile, a fruit tree, a garbage bag, or the dog and cat food someone left outside! Since they are omnivores, there are a lot of opportunities for them to find food.

Opossums do play "'possum", or act dead, to protect themselves. If they feel threatened, they will freeze and act dead so a predator does not hurt or kill them. They can stay frozen for a period of time. Opossums also have over 50 teeth-- they will show these off to protect themselves as well.

Come on out and meet Petey, our resident Opossum, at WLS! On this post are a few pictures of him and some young ones we have gotten in for rehab to release back into the wild.

Enjoy, and thanks for your support!