The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is probably the only North American marsupial. Most, if not all, marsupials live in Australia. It is a pouched mammal just like koala or kangaroo.
Adult opossums reach an overall body length of 13–37 inches with a tail measuring at 8.5–19 inches.
Males weigh 1.7 – 14 pounds whereas females average 11 ounces to 8.2 pounds. They have varied sizes—probably the most varied of all land mammals. The North American species are 20 times the size of tropical opossums.
Virginia opossums are omnivores. They are thought to eat insects, snakes, small animals, fruits, mice, earthworms, snails, grains, and carrion. They are pretty immune to snake venom.
It has 50 teeth and a prehensile tail which serves to balance the animal while moving into the trees.
Virginia opossum lives in North America, Central America, Costa Rica, Rockies, and possibly Toronto.
Virginia opossums can take a big stride of 18 – 25 cm while running fast.
Unique among its behavior is the play death. The play-death is a behavior in which the opossum pretends to be dead. It does so especially when it is threatened or a predator is nearby.
They do not hibernate—not even in extreme cold. But opossums do find some shelter and rarely become active in winter.
Opossums are not really scared of humans for they do live near human settlements. They often find food in human garbage.
Virginia opossums will have a long breeding season ranging from December to October next year. The female produces 20 – 30 litters in February and June but the maximum litter size can reach up to 50.
Virginia opossums can live as long as 2 years in the wild. In captivity however they can live up to 4 years.