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.
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.
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.
- Stream: small waterway
- Prehensile: grips without fingers
- Nocturnal: awake at night
- Burrow: Small hole in the ground
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.
Question: What’s the difference between a possum and an opossum?
Question: How long have opossums been around?