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North American opossum (Didelphis virginiana)  Animal,Didelphidae,Didelphimorphia,Didelphis,Didelphis virginiana,Fall,Geotagged,Mammal,Marsupial,Nature,North American opossum,Opossum,United States,Vertebrate Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

    comments (3)

  1. Adorable! Great shot :) Posted 26 days ago
  2. Great shot, Cute!
    Posted 25 days ago
  3. From today's JungleDragon Facebook post:

    "The North American Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is an animal that rarely gets the respect that it deserves. They are often unfairly perceived as dirty, creepy-looking nuisances. This unmerited reputation easily makes the opossum one of the most misunderstood creatures in North America. The truth is that these docile animals are incredibly beneficial to humans. In fact, they are cleaner and smarter than most of our woodland neighbors.

    Opossums are nocturnal omnivores with voracious appetites. They will eat nearly anything, including carrion, vegetables, bones, slugs, snails, cockroaches, rodents, snakes, ticks, and rotting fruit. Their large appetites and opportunistic feeding habits combine to make them very helpful to humans. Opossums provide enormous value as the sanitation workers of nature. They help keep the environment clean by eating things that other animals don't want, and they efficiently clean up after themselves and everyone else in nature.

    Many people associate opossums with disease. This association is completely unfounded. Opossums are hosts to ticks, such as deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis), which are vectors of Lyme disease. But, thanks to their nearly obsessive grooming habits, opossums are really efficient at finding, killing, and eating ticks. In fact, they really seem to enjoy feasting on them, to the extent that a single opossum will eat around 5,000 ticks per year! That definitely makes these animals champions in battling tick-borne diseases. Furthermore, opossums don't carry rabies. Their body temperature is too low to maintain the virus. In addition, they have a natural immunity to snake venom. This impressive quality may eventually help humans develop a universal anti-venom. The evidence is clear that opossums don't propagate disease, rather they are our allies in the fight against pestilence.

    Opossums are not aggressive. But they do have several defensive mechanisms that are basically just elaborate bluffs to make themselves appear vicious. For example, they may hiss, growl, burp, defecate, run, and urinate when threatened. If their bluffs don't work, then they "play opossum" and act like they are dead. Playing dead is an involuntary reaction similar to fainting, which occurs when the opossum is scared or stressed. When in this state, the opossum rolls over, becomes rigid, bares its teeth, foams at the mouth, and emits foul-smelling fluids. This catatonic state can last for several hours and effectively deters predators. Unfortunately, opossums sometimes have this reaction when faced with oncoming road traffic. So, an opossum that appears to be dead on the road may simply be "playing dead" and thus truly end up as roadkill.

    We could literally go on and on expounding on the unique and fascinating features that opossums possess. Overall, they are awesome animals to have around. They are peaceful, disease-resistant, and incredibly tidy. We encourage you to appreciate and respect these amazing creatures as they are truly some of the best wildlife to grace your backyard. {Spotted in Florida, USA by JungleDragon user, Joe Spandrusyszyn} #JungleDragon"
    Posted 15 days ago

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The Virginia opossum , commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. In the United States it is typically referred to simply as a ''possum''. A solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat, and thus the largest opossum, it is a successful opportunist. It is familiar to many North Americans as it is often seen near towns, rummaging through garbage cans, or lying by the road, a victim of traffic.

Similar species: Opposums
Species identified by Joe Spandrusyszyn
View Joe Spandrusyszyn's profile

By Joe Spandrusyszyn

All rights reserved
Uploaded Dec 24, 2018. Captured Nov 17, 2018 17:38 in 1149 Fox Hunt Dr, Winter Haven, FL 33880, USA.
  • ILCE-6300
  • f/6.3
  • 1/800s
  • ISO6400
  • 300mm