September 2018: Virginia Opossum

Scientific Name Didelphis virginiana
Alternate Name Common Opossum, Jack (Male), Jill (Female), Joey (Young), North American Opossum, Possum
Collective Name Grin, Litter (Young), Passel
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Didelphimorphia Didelphidae Didelphis
North America Forests, Shrublands, Artificial Terrestrial
1.9-6 kg. 4.1-6.2 lb.
33-55 cm. 12-22 in. 1.5-7 yr.
Least Concern Solitary Nocturnal
Increasing Polygynous Omnivore
Fore Hind
4 Subspecies
D. v. californica California, Californian, Mexican, North Mexican
D. v. pigra
D. v. virginiana Eastern, Florida
D. v. yucatanensis South Mexican, Yucatán

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the only marsupial species found north of Mexico and is a common species of the United States, sometimes referred to as the “North American Opossum.” This species has been recognized as one of the most successful mammals in history as it has an expansive range from as south as Costa Rica to as north as Ontario, Canada and is constantly expanding its distribution. As an opportunistic feeder, this omnivore consumes plants, animals, carrion, and even garbage. The opossum is listed as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

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