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Opossum Facts for Kids

Opossum Facts for Kids

  • Common Name: Opossum or Possum
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Clade: Didelphimorphia
  • "Family: Didelphidae
  • Diet: Ominvorous (Meat and Plants)
  • Total Species: 120+
  • First Appeared: ~55 million years ago

19 Opossum Facts For Kids

  1. Opossum is the common name for a group of small to medium-sized marsupial animals in the Didelphidae family.
  2. In North America the opossum is referred to as simply a possum.
  3. There are other species with the name possum or opossum, but true opossums are native to the Americas.
  4. The oldest discovered fossil evidence of opossums was around 20 million years ago.
  5. There are 127 species of opossums that have been scientifically described across 19 genera.
  6. The habitat range for opossum species includes the continents of North and South America.
  7. The preferred habitat for opossum species is forests and shrublands, but they have also adapted to live in urban areas.
  8. Opossums are omnivorous and eat both meat and plant material.
  9. The diet of a possum includes plants, fruits, grains, insects, small amphibians, and dead animals.
  10. Opossums are nomadic and will stay in an area if water and food are readily available.
  11. Opossums are solitary animals and do not have any formal social structures.
  12. The average lifespan of opossum species is between one and two years.
  13. Opossum species are gender dimorphic, with males being a bit heavier and larger than females.
  14. A female opossum can give birth to 20 babies in one birth.
  15. The easiest recognizable opossum is the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) found in Canada and the United States.
  16. Despite the opossums fearsome appearance, they are nonaggressive and will avoid humans.
  17. Opossums are known for playing dead, which is a defense mechanism it uses when it feels threaten.
  18. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus) is the only marsupial that lives in a semi-aquatic habitat.
  19. In Australia, they have several species of marsupials called opossums or possums, but they are not members of the Didelphidae family.

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Opossum Pictures

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the below images will be helpful for your research on opossums. Below are three pictures of various opossum species. These pictures should help you better understand the different types of opossums found around the world.

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)

A picture of the Virginia opossum (didelphis virginiana).

Baby opossum hanging from a tree

A picture of a baby opossum hanging from a tree.

A opossum showing its teeth

A picture of a opossum showing its teeth.

Opossum Resources

We hope you found the above opossum facts, information, data, and pictures both fun and educational. You can continue to research opossums using one of the below additional resources. They were chosen for their credibility and accuracy; you can trust their information when it comes to opossums. Thank you for choosing Fast Facts for Kids.