Virginia opossums are terrestrial; however, they are also adept climbers with prehensile tails and specialized feet with opposable halluxes for climbing and denning in trees.
Virginia opossums are terrestrial; however, they are also very adept climbers and may den in trees.
Arboreal locomotion of the opossum is facilitated mainly by the prehensile tail, used as an additional limb, and the friction ridges that are found on the plantar surfaces on the bottom of their dark feet. The opossum also possesses an opposable hallux on the hind feet, specialized in climbing, that aids somewhat in arboreal locomotion. This hallux does not bear a claw, unlike the other digits. The hind foot is also used to carry out extensive grooming.
Arboreal locomotion is typically slow.
Sources: (Allen, Marchinton, & MacLentz, 1985; Burnie, Wilson, & Clutton-Brock, 2001; Christiansen, 2006; Gipson & Palmer, 2001; Hoffmeister, 2002; Hossler, McAninch, & Harder, 1994; Kimble, 1997; Ladine & Kissell, Jr., 1994; McManus, 1974; McRuer & Jones, 2009; Pérez-Hernandez, R., Lew, D., & Solari, 2016; Siciliano, 2013; Wilemon, 2008; Wright, Burt, & Jackson, 2012)
Image: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren