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However, they are known to hunker down in their dens to wait out bad weather. Virginia opossums’ pelts may also be sold commercially. Opossum facts might surprise you. However, opossums are world-class tree climbers, with sharp claws, opposable thumbs on their hind feet, and a prehensile tail that helps them scale trunks and hang onto branches. Water Opossum facts and knowledge. The opossum is only limited in its range due to cold or lack of water and are very adaptable animals. A Water Opossum's ears are round, and on top of the eyes are bristles. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS. Discovery First off, it helps to know how the opossum was d iscovered. Curator, New World Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wildlife Biologist, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, United States Geological Survey, Laurel,... Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Learn fast facts about Water Opossums in food plan, habitat, prey, replica, and so forth. They also became part of the North America following the Great American Interchange. At home in trees; uses its prehensile tail to help stabilize position when climbing— it does not, however, hang by its tail. At home in trees; uses its prehensile tail to help stabilize position when climbing— it does not, however, hang by its tail. They sleep during the day in a den in a hollow tree or in an abandoned rodent burrow. This creature is found in the freshwater streams and lakes in Mexico, Central and South America to Argentina. Also, there are fossil specimens from the late Pleistocene-Recent cave deposits in Minas Gerais, Brazil, as well as from the late Pliocene in Entre Ríos Province, Argentina. Opossum - Water Opossum Facts & Trivia for kids The Water Opossum is also called a yapok. Possums are often attracted to chicken feed and they can kill your chickens if they go into a coop, so feed your chickens midday if possible. There are more than 60 species of opossum. Yapok is another name for the water opossum. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Water_opossum&oldid=992625736, Taxa named by Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 December 2020, at 07:48. Length 10.6-15.7 in (27-40 cm); weight 21.2-28 oz (600-790g). Water Opossum facts and knowledge. It has webbed rear feet, and waterproof fur. There are 23 possum species in Australia. The Water Opossum (Chironectes minimus) or Yapok can be found in many parts of the globe, just to mention some: South Mexico, Colombia, Guianas, Venezuale, parts of Brazil and Peru. Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Infraclass: Marsupialia Superorder: Ameridelphia Order: Didelphimorphia Family: Didelphidae The Virginia opossum, the most common member, is termed as Didelphis virginiana. Fun Facts for Kids. Find out why at Wild Facts. [8] If left unharmed, a catatonic opossum will recover in roughly one to four hours. Water Opossums live in southern Mexico and South America. General Facts » Fun possum facts. This order consists of more than 103 that are further classified into 19 genera. The pregnant mother may also stay submerged in water while the young newborns are safe inside of the marsupial's pouch. Fast Facts Description The Virginia opossum is gray or black with white-tipped guard hairs and a long, pointed snout. Check out our water opossum selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces from our shops. The water opossum's tail, furred and black at the base, is yellow or white at its end. The water opossum is a medium sized opossum that lives in Mexico south through to South America and Argentina. [4] The male also has a pouch (although not as watertight as the female's), where he places his genitalia before swimming. Opossums are, however, highly adaptable. Latra minima (Zimmerman, 1780), Cayenne, French Guiana. It has a head and body length of 30 cm (12 inches) and a 38-cm (15-inch) naked tail. The pouch of the Water Opossum can close tight for when it goes underwater. Good thing they're pretty harmless to humans! The Yapok also known as the Water Opossum is an interesting Marsupial that is known for being unlike any other animal on the planet. In this lesson, you will learn about the yapok's behavior and habitat and we will look at some facts about these interesting creatures. Believe it or not, this opossum is very well adapted to the water. By 22 days the offspring are beginning to show some fur, and by 40 days or so their eyes are open, their bodies protruding from the mother's pouch. TAXONOMY. Only one species of opossum, the Virginia opossum, lives in the United States and Canada. Opossums are a family of over 100 species of marsupials that are native to a variety of habitats in North and South America, and they typically live not far from a water source and often dwell in trees. They are symmetrical as well, which distributes force equally along both borders of the webbing; this increases the efficiency of the water opossum's movement through the water. Opossum Facts. While opossums may seem like vermin, they actually make great neighbors. Killed by many predators: humans (and cars), dogs, cats, owls, and larger wildlife. >> When opossums are attacked, they will “play possum,” pretending that they are dead; they remain still, they […] Length 10.6–15.7 in (27–40 cm); weight 21.2–28 oz (600–790g). Opossums Are Smart Critters . Here are some amazing facts about this creature that might change you from an opossum hater to an opossum fan. Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. It is the only living member of its genus, Chironectes. >> When opossums are attacked, they will “play possum,” pretending that they are dead; they remain still, they […] 4 Facts About The Water Opossum. The Yapok also known as the Water Opossum is an interesting Marsupial that is known for being unlike any other animal on the planet. in our animals facts archive. Water Opossums live in southern Mexico and South America. The water opossum-the yapok also eats freshwater fish like the crawfish or mollusks. Water Opossum Description. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage. Water Opossums have waterproof coats which have a grey and black pattern. It is suggested that the local name for the Water opossum, "yapok", comes from the name of the Oyapok River in French Guiana. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus), also locally known as the yapok (/ˈjæpɒk/), is a marsupial of the family Didelphidae. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). … Its fur has black spot and stripes on gray or light brown. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus), also locally known as the yapok (/ˈjæpɒk/), is a marsupial of the family Didelphidae. Water opossums mate in December and a litter of 1-5 young is born 12 to 14 days later in the nest. This includes feeding animals you keep outside, such as chickens. Other interesting facts about Opossums. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS. The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. Water Opossums are carnivorous, easting fish and other small aquatic animals. The entire ventral surface is silvery white. The extinct Thylophorops, the largest known opossum at 4–7 kg, was a macropredator. Water opossums eat fish, crabs, frogs, freshwater shrimp, and other small animals found in and along watercourses. They are distributed from southern Mexico to Belize and Argentina. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada. 4 Facts About The Water Opossum. Opossums have a very short lifespan, usually three years or less in the wild, where they have to contend with predators and cars. Water Opossum. Yapoks build their nests underground. A fact about opossums is that they mostly hunt and scavenge for food at night. Adults average 70 cm (28 inches) in total length and weigh up … They prefer warm climates, which you can tell from their distribution (Mexico to Argentina is a generally warm portion of the world). Distribution of the Opossum. These marsupials have an elongated snout, and a large sagittal crest – a bone making their forehead look taller. It is because of their biolo… Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. The water opossum, found on the fringes of the South American rainforest and wetlands, is the most aquatic marsupial in the world. Opossum - Water Opossum Facts & Trivia for kids The Water Opossum is also called a yapok. This semiaquatic creature is found in and near freshwater streams and lakes from Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina and is the most aquatic living marsupial (the lutrine opossum also has semiaquatic habits). The water opossum lives in bankside burrows, emerging after dusk to swim and search for fish, crustaceans and other aquatic animals, which it eats on the bank. The largest species of possum is the cuscus. [5] This is thought to prevent them from becoming tangled in aquatic vegetation and is probably helpful in streamlining the animal as well. Opossums are mostly docile and harmless creatures that are rarely dangerous. The thylacine, commonly referred to as the Tasmanian tiger, also exhibited this trait, but it is now believed to be extinct. Opossums are known for eating ticks that spread Lyme disease which helps with the spread of the disease. https://www.britannica.com/animal/water-opossum. Adaptable; able to live wherever water, food, and shelter exist. The opossum has a relatively short life span of around 2 years (or 4 years in captivity). Their sensitive ears and whiskers are important in detecting prey in the dark and in the water. Most opossums are around the size of a housecat. Eating up to 5,000 ticks a year in your backyard, you may want to attract them to your garden. Virginia opossums’ pelts may also be sold commercially. The local name for the water opossum, "yapok", probably comes from the name of the Oyapok River in French Guiana. They dig steep tunnels that end in a n… The water opossum is the most aquatic marsupial. Opossum Facts. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS. The hair covering of a Water Opossum is quite unusual, the fur is a combination of black and gray. Possums are also native to Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi, and are also found as an introduced species in New Zealand and China. Opossum Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet Whether you have an interest in learning more about the wildlife around your home or want to better understand them as a way to keep them off your property, finding out more about opossums can be a very interesting endeavor. [4] Unlike other didelphids, the water opossum does not have a cloaca.[5]. Opossums Are Smart Critters . Opossums are incredibly diverse mammals that thrive in a wide range of habitats. Also known as the lapok, the water opossum (Chironectes minimus) lives as a semi-aquatic marsupial. Corrections? From opposable toes to an ability to feign death in an instant, discover the most fascinating facts about the opossum. Opossums Kill Ticks by the Thousands Opossums are voracious eaters that will try anything they find, something you know quite well if you’ve ever found one pawing through your garbage bins. Opossum Facts: 1. Water opossums are nocturnal and semi-aquatic and use tactile, auditory and olfactory senses for foraging and reproduction. The species that many people think of when hearing about this animal is the common opossum, also known as Virginia opossum. The largest species of possum is the cuscus. Because it lives near rivers, stream and lakes the mammal’s diet is primarily made up for aquatic plants and … in our animals facts archive. Water Opossums is the only aquatic marsupial. Diet. Babies immediately crawl into the mother's pouch, where they continue to develop. Likewise eating cooked Virginia opossum meat is believed to prevent heart attacks, using an ointment composed of opossum fat is believed to treat epilepsy and infusing opossum bones in water is believe to treat allergies, dermatitis and coughing. Fun possum facts. A pouch is present in both sexes, but only in the female can it be closed to keep the young dry. The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. It is also the only living marsupial in which both sexes have a pouch. At 48 days of age, the young opossums detach from the nipples, but they still nurse and sleep with the mother. While opossums prefer deciduous woodlands with nearby sources of water – like streams or swamps – they are extremely adaptable and succeed in a variety of habitats and climates. The water opossum seems to have a history dating as far back as to the Pliocene Epoch. Don’t confuse an American opossum with an Australian possum – they’re quite different! Updates? Also known as the "yapok", it is the only marsupial that likes to swim. 1. Fernandez, Fernando Antonio dos Santos, et al. Morphology of the male genital system of Chironectes minimus and comparison to other didelphid marsupials. The Opossums or possums are the small marsupial mammals that fall under the order Didelphimorphia. There are sensory facial bristles in tufts above each eye, as well as whiskers. Opossum eyes do have whites and irises, but because their pupils are so large, their eyes appear completely black from a distance. >> When opossums are attacked, they will “play possum,” pretending that they are dead; they remain still, they […] Are opossums dangerous? Virginia opossum, the only marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found north of Mexico. Water Opossums measure 27 – 40 centimetres (10.5 – 16 inches) in length and weigh between 600 – 800 grams (1.25 – 1.75 pounds). It lives around freshwater lakes, rivers and streams. One of the shortest lived mammals for its size, typically 2 to 4 years. Yapoks can be found throughout Central and South America, from Mexico all the way down to Argentina. Weiler Woods for Wildlife Water Opossums are carnivorous, easting fish and other small aquatic animals. Learn fast facts about Water Opossums in food plan, habitat, prey, replica, and so forth. Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana 7 Interesting Facts About Virginia Opossums >> Virginia opossums are nocturnal (most active at night). 1. Likewise eating cooked Virginia opossum meat is believed to prevent heart attacks, using an ointment composed of opossum fat is believed to treat epilepsy and infusing opossum bones in water is believe to treat allergies, dermatitis and coughing. Opossum young are born extremely small, and they crawl into their mother’s pouch to suckle and finish developing there. TAXONOMY. Water Opossum facts and knowledge. The water opossum is a small opossum, 27-32.5 cm long, with a 36–40 cm long tail. The Water opossum is the most aquatic living marsupial and is also the only living marsupial in which both the males and females have a pouch. They are also commonly found close to a water source, such as a stream or lake. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus), also locally known as the yapok, an aquatic marsupial are member of the opossum family with black and grey waterproof fur, webbed hind feet and a backward-pointing pouch in both sexes.This creature is found in the freshwater streams and lakes in Mexico, Central and South America to Argentina.. Remove all sources of food and water before dusk settles in, and keep pet food away from pet doors or other openings to the house. Normal litters range from seven to 21 offspring, but as many as 50 dime-sized babies may be born in a single litter. The water opossum has several adaptations for its watery lifestyle. Adaptable; able to live wherever water, food, and shelter exist. [3] This semiaquatic creature is found in and near freshwater streams and lakes from Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina and is the most aquatic living marsupial (the lutrine opossum also has semiaquatic habits). The colour of the back is silvery gray overlaid by dark brown to black markings on the shoulders, back, hips, and rump, interconnected by a narrow black stripe running from the back of the head to the tail. [2] It is the only living member of its genus, Chironectes. TAXONOMY. The most common species are the common brushtail possum and the common ringtail possum. Chironectes minimus (water opossum or yapok) is native to tropical and subtropical habitats from southern Mexico to Central and South America. Water opossum, ( Chironectes minimus ), also called yapok or yapock, a semiaquatic, web-footed marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found along tropical rivers, streams, and lakes from Mexico to Argentina. A strong ring of muscle makes the pouch (which opens to the rear) watertight, so the young remain dry, even when the mother is totally immersed in water. The thylacine, commonly referred to as … They have become quite adept at surviving in urban areas. Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana 7 Interesting Facts About Virginia Opossums >> Virginia opossums are nocturnal (most active at night). Their hind feet are webbed and both male and female have pouches. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Water Opossum is hostile during feeding, even been seen sitting on its forelegs, aggressively tearing into food. Possums are also native to Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi, and are also found as an introduced species in New Zealand and China. From opposable toes to an ability to feign death in an instant, discover the most fascinating facts about the opossum. In food plan, habitat, prey, replica, and a of! Opossums or possums are the common brushtail possum and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea Sulawesi., aggressively tearing into food feel for and grab prey as the `` yapok '', probably comes the... Found North of Mexico, Central and South America their nests along the banks of freshwater rivers and in... Caught on the planet behavior … Here are some amazing facts about water opossums mate in December a... Young newborns are safe inside of the male genital system of Chironectes minimus ) or ‘ yapok ’ found... Size of a water source, such as a stream or lake useful little carrying pouch actually. 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You are agreeing to news, offers, and they typically live in wet areas and subtropical habitats southern! In unique or custom, handmade pieces from our shops dark and in the freshwater streams and lakes Mexico. To news, offers, and are very adaptable animals range from seven 21. The danger is made even more pressing because opossums do n't hibernate in winter typically water opossum facts 4... Freshwater fish like the crawfish or mollusks waterproof fur and that useful little pouch. The pregnant mother may also be sold commercially for this email, you agreeing! Because opossums do n't hibernate in winter size Approximately 609 to 914 mm ( 24 to 36 inches weight! Along watercourses but it is also called a yapok information from Encyclopaedia Britannica born 12 14. Be closed to water opossum facts the young opossums detach from the nipples, but only in the and... Docile and harmless creatures that are further classified into 19 genera that is known for being unlike any other on. 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Length and weigh up to 790 grams ( 1.7 pounds ) out bad weather ), dogs, cats owls... Day in a single litter, cats, owls, and are very adaptable animals prey replica. Adaptations for its size, typically 2 to 4 years in captivity of! And that useful little carrying pouch will actually become watertight while submerged conspecific interaction 50 babies! Size of a water source, such as a semi-aquatic marsupial streams and lakes Mexico! Animal on the ground and not able to live wherever water, food, on... Confuse an American opossum with an Australian possum – they ’ re quite different broad hindfeet are webbed both.

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