Information about: Opossum

Index | Opossum

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Opossum. A family of mammals, belonging to the order of pouch-bearers, which range throughout the wooded districts of America, from the southern boundary of Texas to the La Plata river where they are most numerous, while one species is found in North America, from Florida to the Hudson river, and west to the Missouri. They are rat-like in form, and the largest species is about the size of the common cat; they have a long tail, which is almost destitute of hair, and is very useful from its prehensile nature, enabling the animal not only to hang by it, but also to climb and descend trees. They are sly and intelligent, and live chiefly in trees, hiding in the daytime, and at night roaming abroad in search of their food, which consists of fruit, insects, small reptiles, birds' eggs, etc. Some species have no marsupium, or pouch, or it is very slightly developed; in these particular species the young, on leaving the nipples, are carried on their mother's back, retainmg their position by entwining their tails around hers.