After leaving their mother’s pouch, young Virginia opossums stay in the den or ride on her back until weaned around 100 days old, at which time they become independent.
After the period spent within the pouch, Virginia opossum young remain with their mother, either staying in the den while she forages, or riding on her back.
After ten days of age, young develop the means to ﬁght infection. The young begin eating solid food at around 85 days old and are fully weaned between 93 to 105 days old. After this period, young are typically independent and adopt a solitary lifestyle, although some will stay in the weaning den with their mother until they are about 120 days old.
Virginia opossums become sexually mature within the first year of their life, around 6 months for females and 8 months for males, but typically begin breeding around 10 months of age.
Sources: (Burnie, Wilson, & Clutton-Brock, 2001; Christiansen, 2006; Feldhamer, Drickamer, Vessey, Merritt, & Krajewski, 2007; Hoffmeister, 2002; Holmes, 1992, May; Hossler, McAninch, & Harder, 1994; Kimble, 1997; McManus, 1974; McRuer & Jones, 2009; O’Connell, 2006; Porter, 1956; Rademaker & Cerqueira, 2006; Siciliano, 2013; Wilemon, 2008)
Image: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren