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I like Opossums -- particularly, "Virginia Opossums".

I have a female opossum that comes through my cat door at night to eat my cat's food. I've managed to record a number of videos of my visitor. The best one is here Opossum Mom #2. If have lots more of them on YouTube.


Here are a few random facts about opossums:

  • People frequently confuse the names of "opossums" and "possums". Opossums are from America. Possums are from Australia. They are both marsupials, but they are only distantly related. People frequently say "possum" when they are talking about the American marsupial, the opossum.
  • Opossums are not commonly carriers of rabies. They have a natural resistance to the virus because they have a body temperature much lower than other mamals. Their cold body temperature is not favorable to the rabies virus.
  • Opossums will hiss and spit and try to look scary if you startle one, but they rarely bite.
  • Opossums will bite if provoked too far, so keep your distance, but they rarely come after a human (unlike raccoons, which will chase you).
  • If you get one too excited it sometimes faints and looks dead. This is the origin of the phrase, "playing 'possum".
  • Opossums have 52 teeth -- the most of any North American mammal, which makes them look very intimidating when they hiss at you.
  • Opossums live only 3 to 6 years, which is unusually short for an animal its size. Weight and age are usually correlated in animals because it does not make sense to spend a lot of effort growing big only to die shortly afterward.
  • Opossums are one of the oldest branches of mammals.
  • The "Virginia Opossum" is the only marsupial in North America.
  • Virginia Opossums are found all over North America, including California, where it is believed they were introduced as game animals.
  • Virginia Opossums are common in San Francisco.