Genus and Species: Didelphis virginiana
2 years in the wild
4 years in captivity
Virginia Opossums are traditionally found across the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, all throughout Mexico, and up to Ontario in Canada. The Virginia Opossum has since been introduced to California, and British Columbia in Canada.
Virginia Opossums are true omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything. In the wild, some of the things Opossums can be found dining on are rodents, bugs, birds and eggs, as well as fruits and vegetables. In areas with a dense human population, the Virginia opossum enjoys things left out by humans like cat and dog food as well. Opossums are also known to scavenge for dead animals to eat.
Although most people probably think of Australia when they think of marsupials, the United States is lucky enough to have a marsupial species of their own! The Virginia Opossum is the northernmost marsupial in the world, and the only marsupial living north of Mexico.
Virginia Opossums are nocturnal animals that are about the size of a domestic cat, and have hairless prehensile tails that assist them in grabbing tree branches while climbing. While Virginia opossums have the most teeth of any land mammal in North America, they have incredibly small brains. An opossum’s brain is only 1/5th as big as a raccoon’s.
Keeping a pet opossum can make you feel like Snow White, or it can make you want to pull out all of your hair, depending on how prepared you are. Opossums are not domestic animals, and thus have unique needs compared to other pets. If you are interested in learning about what it takes to love and share your life with a pet opossum, just keep reading along.