A marsupial is an animal with a pouch. Read on to learn about the opossum. Virginia Opossum Activity Sheet Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana Video: Amazing Adaptations featuring the Virginia Opossum (YouTube) Description: Join CNC for an outdoor adventure to see an opossum habitat at and learn all about North America's only native marsupial. Why do animals have adaptations? They are thought to eat insects, snakes, small animals, fruits, mice, earthworms, snails, grains, and carrion. Description of the Opossum. The opossum is adept at climbing, running and swimming at a relatively slow and deliberate pace. It has a triangular head and a long, pointed nose. Tree Climbing. Denied their usual food sources, they change their diet. Individual adult tracks generally measure 1.9 in long by 2.0 in wide (4.8 × 5.1 cm) for the fore prints and 2.5 in long by 2.3 in wide (6.4 × 5.7 cm) for the hind prints. (Length: 12 minutes) "Plant Adaptations": Explore the amazing world of plant adaptations with this video along the Roaring Brook Nature Center trails. During the very cold seasons, Virginia opossums modify their behavior to stay warm and may use the shelter offered by human structures, although opossums found in northern regions frequently have frost bite. Sometimes it will roll over, become stiff, drool, and change its breathing to a slow and shallow pace. They originally were found only in southeastern U.S., but in recent years their range has expanded west and north all the way into northern Minnesota. Browse: Home / 2018 / February / Good Natured: Adaptations Make Virginia Opossum Freaky Cool. Males are usually larger and heavier than females. Virginia opossums are omnivores. kanecountyconnects / February 16, 2018 / Leave a comment / Animal Care and Control, Environment, Government, Kane County Forest Preserve District, Nature, Parks and Recreation. But in these northern reaches of the Americas, only a single marsupial can be found. (Snow cover across Canada has been declining since the 1970s, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.). The Virginia Opossum has a tail that is referred to as prehensile, meaning that it can be used as a limb of sorts. They will nest in a safe place and try to build their nest in a warm area. Didelphis virginiana. Sometimes they will “play possum ” and roll over, become stiff, and their breathing will become slow and shallow. Possums can maintain this behavior for up to four hours. Females communicate with their young by producing various sounds from lip smacking to bird-like noises, while a series of ‘clicks’ is used by mothers as well as individuals communicating with a mate. They are pretty immune to snake venom. Virginia opossum. Scientists studying ticks and opossums found that opossums groomed off and ate over 90% of the ticks on their bodies. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial native to North America. Survival Adaptations. The opossum’s population is on an increasing trend particularly in the northwestern range. The lifespan is two years, and so they have to protect themselves from predators that are also hungry in … The Virginia opossum is a small mammal about the size of a house cat with a long, pointed nose, black hairless ears, dark eyes and a nearly hairless tail adapted to grasping objects (called “prehensile”). Scientists aren’t sure, but think it’s because they’re masters of adaptation. This new observation of biofluorescence in the platypus under UV light strengthens the hypothesis that the trait is adaptive in low-light environments (Kohler et al. They’ve endured the passage of time astonishingly well, and largely unchanged. This New World species is correctly called an “opossum” as opposed to the Old World “possum”. In addition, biofluorescence of the pelage of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) was observed in museum specimens and living animals (Meisner 1983; Pine et al. The hind tracks are unusual and distinctive due to the opossum's opposable thumb, which generally prints at an angle of 90° or greater to the other fingers (sometimes near 180°). The Frilled Lizard puffs out skin flaps to look larger and more fierce. 1985). This opossum is climbing down a tall pole using it tail much as a telephone lineman uses a safety belt when climbing. The opossum has some unique adaptations that help it survive. Opossums are cat-sized mammals with a pointed snout, grayish fur, small ears, and a long, scaly tail. It has a prehensile tail. When threatened, opossums will exhibit behaviors like running, growling, belching, urinating and even defecating. The Virginia opossum is about the size of a large house cat. There are about 100 species of opossum in South America. Q. A prehensile tail is adapted for grasping and w… It can use its tail to hang from tree branches, and it has paws with opposable "thumbs." Most opossums are around the size of a housecat. Opossums are excellent tree climbers and spend much of their time aloft. How? The Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial. Meet one of the Center's education opossums, and hear outreach coordinator Alex Wehrung talk about how education ambassadors help the Center to elevate the effectiveness of our programs. The Virginia opossum occupies much of the North America and Central America including southern Ontario, Costa Rica, and Rockies. Virginia opossums use both vocal and scent signals to communicate with each other. The predator avoidance adaptations of opossums don't stop there. The Virginia opossum is the most commonly known opossum. Virginia Opossums have 50 teeth – more than any other North American mammal. North America’s only marsupial, the Virginia opossum is a scavenger — and that makes it right at home in dense urban environments, … Opossums have a tendency to switch nests often because of predation. Then there are close up "meet and greets" with a Virginia opossum, blue-tongued skink and Brazilian rainbow boa to discuss the adaptations they possess. Opossums are marsupials, mammals that undergo the early part of their development in their moth… The region of the tail nearest the body is usually pigmented and covered by fur. If you’ve ever watched an opossum at play, it might have struck you … Their fore and hind feet have five toes, all with sharp claws except for the clawless, thumblike, opposable innermost toe on the hind feet. The Virginia opossum is a bit of anomaly. They have scaly feet, and a scaly prehensile tail. The Virginia Opossum plays dead to detract the attention of a predator. It has 50 teeth and a prehensile tail which serves to balance the animal while moving into the trees. Opossums Are Incredibly Agile. This coma-like state can last up to four hours. Behavioral Adaptation - an instinct that helps the organism to survive in its habitat. Virginia opossums are more adapted to tropical environments, so it is not surprising that they are ill-equipped for extreme cold. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. Learn everything you need to know about opossum facts, behavior and habitat. Host Ed Clark highlights a wide variety of special opossum adaptations and explains how simple changes in human behavior can help these animals. Scientists have found a peptide in the blood of 2019). With climate change causing warmer-than-average winters, though, new regions are becoming increasingly hospitable to the opossum. Geese fly in a V format to help reduce drag. Virginia opossum tracks generally show five finger-like toes in both the fore and hind prints. The opossum (left) can use its tail to wrap around larger structures to aid in climbing. The opossum has been around for at least 70 million years and is one of Earth's oldest surviving mammals! Prehensile Tail. Some predators will think the … It has grayish fur everywhere but on its ears, feet, and tail. Opossums are related to kangaroos and other marsupials found in Australia. Opossums have existed since the Pliocene Epoch, two to five million years ago. When the Virginia opossum feels threatened it will exhibit behaviors like running or growling. Good Natured: Adaptations Make Virginia Opossum Freaky Cool. These marsupials have an elongated snout, and a large sagittal crest – a bone making their forehead look taller. 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