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Virginia opossum

(Didelphis virginiana)


Category: Mammals



These solitary, nocturnal marsupials are found in North America north of Mexico. They are omnivores and often a familiar site in suburban and even urban areas where they rummage in the garbage for food, steal pet food left outdoors, and otherwise glean nutrition and shelter from human habits and habitations. They are famous for their curious adaptation of “playing opossum,” the act playing dead, sick, or injured in attempt to discourage attackers or other perceived threats. It should be noted that this is a result of extreme fear on the opossum’s part and they actually enter a brief, coma-like state where they are unable to move or react to stimulus – they are fully conscious however.



Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Didelphimorphia
Family - Didelphidae
Genus - Didelphis
Species - D. virginiana

Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

Bats: The Only True-Flying Mammal

Bats, the only mammal capable of true flight, are not blind - their eyes are just fine, thank you very much. But instead of eyes, most bats rely on an incredibly fine-tuned sense of hearing when they fly and hunt. Using a technique called echolocation, they emit high-pitched calls (usually above the range of human hearing), using the echos that are reflected back to them as a means of navigation and locating objects. The ears, auditory cortex, and (in a few cases) even noses of some bats are extraordinarily specialized for echolocation; there are even bats that have adapted the frequency of their calls to frequencies above or below what their favorite prey can hear!

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