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Opossums and Their Living Habits  

Most marsupials live in Australia, but one—the opossum—lives right here in North America. Opossums are about the size of a big cat. Like raccoons, they eat almost anything, including fruit, nuts, insects, frogs, lizards, eggs and plants. They’ll even eat garbage and dead animals.

Opossum on a Tree Branch Image - Science for Kids All About Opossums

All About Opossums: They are about the size of a big cat and live in forests, woodlands and near farms.

Opossums live in forests, woodlands and near farms. They like areas with rivers or streams nearby. People sometimes think they are pests because they get into garbage or eat gardens. They can’t help it though. They don’t have a grocery store to buy food like we do.

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Opossums Hanging by its Tail Image

Opossums have a prehensile tail. This means it can grip branches. Opossums can hang upside down by their tails for a little while, but they can’t sleep this way.

Fun Facts about Opossums for Kids 

  • When scared, opossums hiss, belch, or even pee or poop. Sometimes they play dead. They lay can lie still for hours and even their breathing slows down.
  • Opossums have a prehensile tail. This means it can grip branches. Opossums can hang upside down by their tails for a little while, but they can’t sleep this way.
  • Opossums are nocturnal. They look for food at night. During the day, they hide in old tree stumps or burrows.
  • Opossums can have as many as 25 babies at once. The babies are the size of a small bean. Babies hide in their mother’s pouch for two months. Then they ride on their mom’s back for another month.
Newborn Opossum babies in a Spoon Image

Opossums can have as many as 25 babies at once. The babies are the size of a small bean.

Opossum Vocabulary

  1. Stream: small waterway
  2. Prehensile: grips without fingers
  3. Nocturnal: awake at night
  4. Burrow: Small hole in the ground
Opossum Eating Image

They eat almost anything, including fruit, nuts, insects, frogs, lizards, eggs and plants. They’ll even eat garbage and dead animals.

Learn More All About Opossums

Watch this amazing video about an opossum playing dead:

A video documentary clip about the freeze response of an opossum when threatened.

Opossum Q&A

Question: What’s the difference between a possum and an opossum?

Answer: Not much. Opossums live in North America; their cousins, the possums, live in Australia.

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Question: How long have opossums been around?

Answer: For more than 70 million years. Opossums are one of the oldest mammals on earth.

 

Enjoyed the Easy Science for Kids Website all about Opossums info? Take the FREE & fun all about Opossums quiz and download FREE Opossums worksheet for kids. For lengthy info click here.

 

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