Monodelphis domestica

Author: Nessie O'Neil

Meet the Short-Tailed Opossum

Short-Tailed Opossum Classification

Class: Mammalia

Order: Didelphimorphia


Genus and Species: Monodelphis domestica

Awesome Opossum Facts

Least Concern

3-5 oz

4-7.8 inches long

2 years in the wild

4 years in captivity

Gray short-tailed opossums are found throughout Brazil, south of the Amazon River, as well as eastern Bolivia, northern Paraguay, and a small section of northern Argentina. The short-tailed opossum gets its scientific species name “domestica” due to its reputation for entering human residences. 

Short-tailed opossums are omnivores that eat small rodents, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and fruits. Short-tailed opossums are fast and have incredibly sharp teeth that allow them to take down prey their own size. 

Learn About the Minuscule Short-Tailed Opossums

If you are from the United States or Canada, you might not know there is more than one type of opossum. In fact, there are actually over 100 species of opossum, and short-tailed opossums are one of them! 

Short-tailed opossums are nocturnal animals that are similar in size and shape to voles. Unlike the Virginia opossum which has a fully prehensile tail, the tail of the short-tailed opossum is only partially prehensile. Additionally, the short-tailed opossum lack a pouch! These opossums do, however, have retractable teats. 

A short-tailed opossum will shelter in nests they construct themselves. Females of this species are known to create intricately woven nests. The gestation period of a short-tailed opossum is 14 to 15 days. Once the babies are born, they crawl onto their mother’s stomach and and attach to a teat until they are weaned. Because short-tailed opossums don’t have pouches like the Virginia Opossum, their young are weaned much earlier. The young of the short-tailed opossum is, on average, weaned at 3 weeks. Virginia opossums, on the other hand, are weaned at 2 and a half months. 

Short Tailed Opossums as Pets

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