oldest opossum in captivity. Besides humans, cars, dogs, foxes, and owls, the opossum is free from being hunted. Opossum Life and Habitat. If you have opossum encounters or comments you would like to share feel free to add them to the comments below. Besides, the suitability of an opossum for a pet is dependent on several factors. Scientific name: Didelphis virginiana (Virginia opossum), Didelphis marsupialis (Common opossum) Size: 2.5ft (76cm) from head to tail Weight: 8.8 to 13.2lb (4 to 6kg) Lifespan: Two years in the wild; Can reach four years of age in captivity IUCN conservation status: Least Concern However, unlike American opossums, Australian possums have fairly longer lifespans. Animal Control took the dead body away the next day. In captivity, the oldest recorded opossum was four years and five months old. During mating the male and female fall over on their right sides. In captivity they like all kinds of juices Links To Opossum Pages For some real good information on Opossums, please visit the links listed below. Due to their appearance and size, the North American Opossum (also called Virginia Opossum) can seriously freak people out looking like an oversized rat. The more I learned, the more I realized, Virginia opossums are some of the weirdest animals I have ever come across. She could barely walk! Brown four-eyed opossum Lifespan, ageing, and relevant traits Maximum longevity 3 years (captivity) Source ref. They can occur both in the plains and in the mountainous regions at altitudes of up to 4000 meters. They tend to be semi-arboreal omnivores, although there are many exceptions. But, please don’t condemn a healthy orphan to a life in captivity because of YOUR needs, instead of theirs. If bitten the opossum may have some mild discomfort, but it recovers quickly. The individual who designed these animals, must have a great sense of humor? This is a possum superpower. It is familiar to many North Americans as they frequently inhabit settled areas due to the associated proximity to food sources, notably trash cans. The animal has the ability to excrete a musky greenish fluid from its’ anal glands. To anyone reading this I ask that you do not harm our wildlife. They share their unusually short lifespans with many other marsupials. Even in captivity, opossums live only about four years. Many possums have frostbitten ears and tails which can lead to gangrene and death. The Virginia opossum is thought to live as long as two years in the natural habitat. The Opossums family is found only in the Americas. Weight: Up to 14 pounds. It also has the ability to faint and appear dead. Now this question really has a lot of variables. This post is about the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), found in eastern North Amerca and introduced along the Pacific coast. As many of you know, I grew up in a family of fishing-hunting-trapping-gardening-farming-foraging southerners. ... For more information on the lifespan of opossums, please read on. When you learn about how opossums, ‘function’, you realize what a wonderful world we live in. I don’t know if the young are most vulnerable when they are tiny and in the pouch or when older. However something like an Virginia Opossum when receiving a proper diet and care have been known to double their life span… They eat meat the main part of their diet. The Virginia Opossum has a maximal life span in the wild of only about two years. I have 2 possums that come onto my patio every night to eat the sunflower seeds I put out for them and drink water from my glass dishes. I hear strange screeches and shrieks. Muskrats, about the same size as an opossum, live 3 – 4 years, can have 1 – 4 liters per year averaging 6 – 7 young per liter. I accidentally trapped an opossum in a Havahart trap a few years back. The mother will clean the pouch and any young there, but that is it. Whales for example have not been known to live their natural life span when placed in captivity. Learn about short-tailed opossums as pets including feeding tips, housing, and handling. Sometimes my cat and my neighbor’ cat are lying around out there too and all ignore one another. Opossums don’t live long. Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. Opossums have a very short lifespan, usually three years or less in the wild, where they have to contend with predators and cars. Behavioral and nutritional aspects of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). During the breeding season (January to July in the United States), males and females find each other and mate. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Opossums are usually called Possums in North America. There are also some real good photographs of Opossums on those pages also. With such a short life span the trend is to get it done early and often, reproduce, that is. The Virginia Opossums are absent from the Plains and arid southwest of the United States. November 3, 2020 Uncategorized. They may snap out of it minutes or hours later. - The life expectancy of an opossum in captivity has been found to be shorter than that of a wild-living opossum, which shows that they survive better in the wild. An individual may live just a few months or a single year. Opossums are quite nomadic in their home ranges. However, opossums in the wild have a much lower life expectancy and do not commonly make it past their first year of life. They aren’t built for winter. The dead opossums I saw around the corner from my house, had been run over by cars. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. In winter, opossums are more active during the day. AN OFFENSIVE ODOR SELLS THE PERFORMANCE. Young opossum may be eaten by adults. In the United States, the animal is typically referred to simply as a possum. Wild opossums have a relatively short lifespan of approximately 1.5-2 years. Luckily, I didn’t touch the opossum. Any ’surplus’ young die from lack of a teat (food). Lifespan: 2 years in the wild; 4 years in captivity. Didelphis virginiana. Learn how your comment data is processed. They are known to live for three years in th… Opossums are scavengers, cannibalistic, and omnivores. Length: 13-37 inches. They don’t sleep in the same den regularly. The lifespan of opossum in the wild reaches up to 5 years, in captivity with proper care and diet up to 7 years or more. Thanks for visiting. Breath. I’ve seen several dead young opossums in the streets near my home. The Privacy Policy is here. So, do the skunks. The life span of opossums is very short. Opossums are most active at night (nocturnal).  During the warm months, they are most active in the middle of the night. An individual may wander over two miles in a night. They like hollow trees and branches, crevices, caves under rocks, soil, and leaf litter. It is a mammal and the only indigenous and wild (read: free) marsupial in North America. Opossums will eat possum young or another possum at any time. They wander most in summer. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! TOP SPEED. It was calm enough that I felt okay opening the cage and letting it walk out of the cage. Habitat: Found throughout Central America and North America. The opossum, I am focusing on here is the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana). It’s late autumn/early winter, and I see dead possums. Reproduction & Lifespan Because they have few defenses against predators, Virginia opossums only live about two years. After this, the animal instantly “comes to life” and runs away. The Virginia opossum is North America’s only marsupial. This short lifespan is due in part to the presence of many predators including dogs, cats and people. I do sell inexpensive nature guides in the Book Shop. They are not rodents! Predator, sniffing it, often leaves. But, American southerners often shorten “opossum” to “possum”.  The name opossum is from an Algonquin Indian language which means, ‘white-faced’. An opossum in captivity can live longer. I don’t know what to say, except don’t try this at home. They eat just about anything. Virginia Opossum. Captive opossums normally live between 3-4 years, however up to 8-10 years has been described. Now and then a skunk joins a possum and they bump into each other while eating but there is never a “discussion”. After two weeks, eight or nine young are born. In captivity, they may survive for longer, if proper nutrition and care are received from a qualified handler. A picture of a possum playing dead … They also live in the southeast of Canada and the Lesser Antilles. Short-tailed opossums can be friendly, social pets. The mother’s pouch makes the animal a marsupial. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. They bed down in different dens each night. Cold weather kills a number of them. That animal had apparently been in a fight and lost. I’ll spare the mutilation details. Animal Class: Mammals. I hope you have enjoyed your visit here and thanks for taking the time to read about "Andy" and come back whenever you can. The opossum has an average lifespan of 1 to 2 years. Possum without the “o” refers to an animal in Australia. It is possibly opossums getting in scraps with other animals. By nature, the possum is very shy and at risk he pretends to be dead, lying motionless, and with the help of special glands gives off an unpleasant smell reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing body. They avoid contact with humans, animals, and other opossums. I only recommend products and services that I use and believe to be useful and high quality. The captive specimens have a maximum life expectancy of about 4 years. Opossum mothers provide very little maternal care. Opossums, or possums, are the smallest and the stupidest of American terrier quarry. We see many cases of Metabolic Bone Disease (nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism) in opossums that have been fed poor diets. The opossum begins to show the signs of aging such as cataracts, motor coordination problems, and weight loss. I’m glad that didn’t happen. At my grandparents’ home, I’ve eaten a wide variety of unconventional meats. I always enjoy seeing these slow, gentle relatives. The average lifespan for the Virginia opossum is between two and four years. Lifespan: 2 years in the wild; 4 years in captivity. By mammalian standards, this is an unusually full jaw. The average female probably lives through one breeding season in which time she may raise two litters of approximately a dozen young. Opossums, like most marsupials, have unusually short life spans for their size and metabolic rate. Please expect that some links are affiliate links which raise a small amount of income to support the hosting of this blog. So, that explains why I am often awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of animals fighting. Virginia Opossum Courtship and Mating. According to scientists, in prehistoric times, these animals were very widespread in the whole of modern Europe, this is evidenced by the excavation of paleontologists. The lifespan of opossum in the wild reaches up to 5 years, in captivity with proper care and diet up to 7 years or more. After three months, the young are weaned and begin to roam away from the mother. I’m happy to have them around. How Many Babies Can a Possum Have? Falling over seems to be crucial to conception. Most members of this order have long snouts, a narrow braincase, and a prominent sagittal crest. There are 75 species of opossums in North, Central, and South America. When my grandfather died, I told people I had eaten my last opossum.  After learning about opossums, boy do I mean it. The dead one in my garden lost a fight. It isn’t easy to get an older more experienced opossum to faint, but the younger ones may pass out more easily. If the couple doesn’t fall over the female doesn’t conceive. It is extremely difficult to find the right balance in their diet in captivity and an unbalanced diet can result in severe metabolic disease. There are species that lead a semi-aquatic life, settling near water bodies, building holes in tree hollows. They aren’t pretending to be dead, they actually faint from fear. They eat carrion. Opossums don’t hibernate, they just are less active. They like cover and places to hide. But most of them still have a tree or land way of life. Thanks! They are not good hunters but take advantage of easily obtained meals. Native Plants of Pennsylvania – Links and Plant Lists, Books about Native Plants and Ecological Gardening, Cavity Nesters: Birds that Use Holes in Trees, A Chipmunk's Winter Sleep (Torpor and Hibernation), Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly - Life Cycle, A Winter Bird Feeding Guide: Attract Birds to Your Backyard (with Video), Birds of Prey of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey: A Checklist, Virginia Opossum Facts, Lifespan, and Habitat, Keeping a Winter Nature Journal with Writing Prompts, amphibians and reptiles (including poisonous snakes). The most common opossums in the Americas, Argentina, but recently they are actively developing more northern territories. Virginia opossums are solitary, nocturnal and terrestrial; however, they are also very adept climbers and may den in trees. It is not a matter of IF the opossum will become ill, it is a matter of when!. Or both. Quick note: Apparently, the opossum with an ‘o’ is the North American animal. Being solitary animals, opossums avoid each other. Although their lifespan in captivity may be as long as five years, in their natural habitat opossums don’t generally tend to live past the age of two years. Virginia Opossums are found in Eastern North America from southern Maine, Southern Canada, and Michigan to South Dakota; south through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica. They are the smallest of the possums. Thanks for your information. In this way, they keep an ecosystem clean and healthy. During the colder seasons, small vertebrates tend to make up a larger portion of their diet, whereas in the warmer seasons, they consume more invertebrates, plant material, fruits and seeds. Opossum Biology, Life … Opossums don’t live long. I must say that such tactics bring great success for the survival of the species. Their prepared habitat is wooded or shrubby. Opossums don’t make dens but sleep in abandoned dens of other animals. The Virginia opossum, commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. More information can be found in the Encyclopedia of Life (links to another website). fruits, grapes, pokeweed, Pawpaws, berries including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. An opossum in captivity can live longer. These animals are short-lived in captivity with a record longevity of 3 years . Few animals prey on opossums. Very interesting is the protective mechanism of these animals, it deserves special attention. ... Life Expectancy: 4 to 8 years in captivity. Their scientific name is Didelphimorphia. Possums also have a short lifespan; around three years or less in the wild. The incisors are very small, the canines large, and the molars are tricuspid. This is what people call ‘playing possum’. having the capacity to move from one place to another. Virginia opossums are solitary, nocturnal and terrestrial; however, they are also very adept climbers and may den in trees. After birth, the young must crawl three inches to the mother’s pouch. Opossum Feces – Appearance And Health Risks Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. A note from one of our members … "I hear that you are thinking about trying to keep a wild opossum baby as a pet, and want to share with you my recent heartbreaking experiences. The young are so small about twenty could fit in a teaspoon. 6 , 11 , 21 , 29 Still these animals are notable sony, they can sleep up to 19 hours a day. There was a female a couple of months ago loaded down with babies but have not seen her – or she has left the babies somewhere else. So, I set out to learn about these quiet, unassuming neighbors of mine. The oldest opossum ever captured in the wild was only three years old. They are characterized by a long, naked tail; a long, pointed snout; opposable thumbs in … Opossums are immune to the poison of snakes of the pit viper family (crotalid) such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water mocassins. But, they don’t move too far from a temporarily available food source, like my ripening strawberries or blueberries. I hope you find my website useful. Possums also have a short lifespan; around three years or less in the wild. It is a solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat. An individual may live just a few months or a single year. In captivity, they can live twice as long . These animals cause no harm, only come at night, eat then go back to the woods. They share their unusually short lifespans with many other marsupials. Life span. And how little I knew about them. Opossum Lifespan. Additionally, it is illegal to keep an opossum without a wildlife rehabilitation license in almost every, U.S. state. Opossums eat many ticks and other insects. A possum will normally weigh between three and eight pounds, and the brain case of the animal is so small that the skull has a prominent bone ridge whose sole purpose is to give the possum a large enough cranial surface area for the jaw muscles to attach to. It’s tough enough for them without our also being predators. I realized how common this animal is in my neighborhood. Opossums will communicate with hisses, growls, and screeches in hostile encounters with animals and humans. Their stomach has a small cecum and like many other marsupials, a forked penis with twin glands is also a physical characteristic of a male opossum. They also eat: Some animals will turn to cannibalism in extreme circumstances. Last summer, I found a dead and mutilated opossum in my flower bed. Opossums are generally very quiet. MBD can progress to cause immobility and death, if not corrected quickly and appropriately! Learn about short-tailed opossums as pets including feeding tips, housing, and handling. I always think its’ raccoons, possums, and cats, having disagreements. Males, females, and young also make clicking sounds. Finally, I could have easily doubled the length of this post with more possum fascination. They can make a few standard sounds. Glaciers and the related cooling of the climate these territories affected less than Europe. Opossums are solitary,  quiet animals. It is a successful opportunist. The dental formula is: 5.1.3.44.1.3.4 × 2 = 50 teeth. The opossum slowly walked out of the cage, glanced back at me, and disappeared into the underbrush in my garden. During the breeding season (January to July in the United States), males and females find each other and mate. Look for frostbitten, blackened tips on their tails and ears. The North American Opossum is the only marsupial living in the north and parts of Center and South America. Most of the information on this website is free for you to read, watch, or listen to. Poor diets can lead to metabolic bone diseases that are expensive to treat and potentially fatal. A four-year old wild opossum is a rarity. Now opossums are actively thriving in the New World. I have had possums in my backyard for decades. Very interesting is the protective mechanism of these animals, it deserves special attention. In the pouch, the young must attach themselves to a teat. Even those in captivity have a lifespan of only four years. Being solitary animals, opossums avoid each other. Once born, the young instinctively crawl upward into the mother’s pouch where they will nurse for approximately fifty days. The mother has thirteen teats, of which only seven to ten actually give milk. Short-Tailed Opossum Behavior and Temperament . They like to eat my strawberries. Range lifespan Status: captivity 10 (high) years; Typical lifespan Status: wild 1.5 to 2 years; Typical lifespan Status: captivity 3 to 4 years; Range lifespan Status: wild 2.5 (high) years AnAge; Behavior. They have to deal with predators and human intrusions.
Ectoparasitic and phoretic arthropods of Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) in central Tennessee. The term ‘possum’ also refers to refer to … Gestation lasts just two weeks. Opossums live in forests of all types, steppes and even semi-deserts. So, you will find them in forests, woodlands, and urban areas. During the summer, I sleep with my bedroom window open. Their preferred food is insects, mostly beetles. By nature, the possum is very shy and at risk he pretends to be dead, lying motionless, and with the help of special glands gives off an unpleasant smell reminiscent of the smell of a … 671 Sample size Small Data quality Acceptable Observations. Diet: Omnivorous, eating a wide range of plants and animals. Opossum’s lifespan can vary in the wild and in captivity. As an Amazon Associate, I grew up in a fight or blueberries season ( January to July in wild... Grandparents ’ home, I’ve eaten a wide variety of unconventional meats possums also have a or. 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