opossum lifespan in captivity

They also live in the southeast of Canada and the Lesser Antilles. So, you will find them in forests, woodlands, and urban areas. Few animals prey on opossums. Opossums are usually called Possums in North America. A possum will normally weigh between three and eight pounds, and the brain case of the animal is so small that the skull has a prominent bone ridge whose sole purpose is to give the possum a large enough cranial surface area for the jaw muscles to attach to. An opossum in captivity can live longer. Still these animals are notable sony, they can sleep up to 19 hours a day. Opossum Biology, Life … When you learn about how opossums, ‘function’, you realize what a wonderful world we live in. I have had possums in my backyard for decades. The average female probably lives through one breeding season in which time she may raise two litters of approximately a dozen young. This is what people call ‘playing possum’. The mother will clean the pouch and any young there, but that is it. How Many Babies Can a Possum Have? They like hollow trees and branches, crevices, caves under rocks, soil, and leaf litter. I only recommend products and services that I use and believe to be useful and high quality. Possum without the “o” refers to an animal in Australia. If the couple doesn’t fall over the female doesn’t conceive. They are characterized by a long, naked tail; a long, pointed snout; opposable thumbs in … Virginia opossums are solitary, nocturnal and terrestrial; however, they are also very adept climbers and may den in trees. They are not good hunters but take advantage of easily obtained meals. The lifespan of opossum in the wild reaches up to 5 years, in captivity with proper care and diet up to 7 years or more. I accidentally trapped an opossum in a Havahart trap a few years back. They eat just about anything. Their preferred food is insects, mostly beetles. The lifespan of opossum in the wild reaches up to 5 years, in captivity with proper care and diet up to 7 years or more. During the summer, I sleep with my bedroom window open. I’m glad that didn’t happen. This short lifespan is due in part to the presence of many predators including dogs, cats and people. Now and then a skunk joins a possum and they bump into each other while eating but there is never a “discussion”. The dental formula is: 5.1.3.44.1.3.4 × 2 = 50 teeth. Virginia Opossums are found in Eastern North America from southern Maine, Southern Canada, and Michigan to South Dakota; south through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica. It is a mammal and the only indigenous and wild (read: free) marsupial in North America. TOP SPEED. Luckily, I didn’t touch the opossum. They like cover and places to hide. I do sell inexpensive nature guides in the Book Shop. After birth, the young must crawl three inches to the mother’s pouch. The mother’s pouch makes the animal a marsupial. I always enjoy seeing these slow, gentle relatives. In captivity they like all kinds of juices Links To Opossum Pages For some real good information on Opossums, please visit the links listed below. So, do the skunks. Due to their appearance and size, the North American Opossum (also called Virginia Opossum) can seriously freak people out looking like an oversized rat. They are the smallest of the possums. So, I set out to learn about these quiet, unassuming neighbors of mine. After this, the animal instantly “comes to life” and runs away. Short-tailed opossums can be friendly, social pets. They also eat: Some animals will turn to cannibalism in extreme circumstances. I realized how common this animal is in my neighborhood. Length: 13-37 inches. They share their unusually short lifespans with many other marsupials. Now this question really has a lot of variables. Once born, the young instinctively crawl upward into the mother’s pouch where they will nurse for approximately fifty days. According to scientists, in prehistoric times, these animals were very widespread in the whole of modern Europe, this is evidenced by the excavation of paleontologists. Opossums don’t live long. It’s tough enough for them without our also being predators. To anyone reading this I ask that you do not harm our wildlife. Animal Class: Mammals. Wild opossums have a relatively short lifespan of approximately 1.5-2 years. So, that explains why I am often awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of animals fighting. They avoid contact with humans, animals, and other opossums. However something like an Virginia Opossum when receiving a proper diet and care have been known to double their life span… The opossum has an average lifespan of 1 to 2 years. Learn how your comment data is processed. Their prepared habitat is wooded or shrubby. But, American southerners often shorten “opossum” to “possum”.  The name opossum is from an Algonquin Indian language which means, ‘white-faced’. I hope you have enjoyed your visit here and thanks for taking the time to read about "Andy" and come back whenever you can. Poor diets can lead to metabolic bone diseases that are expensive to treat and potentially fatal. An individual may wander over two miles in a night. It isn’t easy to get an older more experienced opossum to faint, but the younger ones may pass out more easily. Scientific name: Didelphis virginiana (Virginia opossum), Didelphis marsupialis (Common opossum) Size: 2.5ft (76cm) from head to tail Weight: 8.8 to 13.2lb (4 to 6kg) Lifespan: Two years in the wild; Can reach four years of age in captivity IUCN conservation status: Least Concern They aren’t built for winter. Virginia Opossum. In captivity, they can live twice as long . Any ’surplus’ young die from lack of a teat (food). A four-year old wild opossum is a rarity. In this way, they keep an ecosystem clean and healthy. The opossum slowly walked out of the cage, glanced back at me, and disappeared into the underbrush in my garden. There are 75 species of opossums in North, Central, and South America. Now opossums are actively thriving in the New World. And how little I knew about them. Opossums will eat possum young or another possum at any time. It also has the ability to faint and appear dead. Most members of this order have long snouts, a narrow braincase, and a prominent sagittal crest. Weight: Up to 14 pounds. ... For more information on the lifespan of opossums, please read on. Many possums have frostbitten ears and tails which can lead to gangrene and death. An individual may live just a few months or a single year. The mother has thirteen teats, of which only seven to ten actually give milk. By nature, the possum is very shy and at risk he pretends to be dead, lying motionless, and with the help of special glands gives off an unpleasant smell reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing body. Opossums are most active at night (nocturnal).  During the warm months, they are most active in the middle of the night. A note from one of our members … "I hear that you are thinking about trying to keep a wild opossum baby as a pet, and want to share with you my recent heartbreaking experiences. Young opossum may be eaten by adults. That animal had apparently been in a fight and lost. Possums also have a short lifespan; around three years or less in the wild. The captive specimens have a maximum life expectancy of about 4 years. The dead one in my garden lost a fight. Opossums, like most marsupials, have unusually short life spans for their size and metabolic rate. They eat meat the main part of their diet. The Privacy Policy is here. She could barely walk! They share their unusually short lifespans with many other marsupials. Thanks for visiting. In captivity, they may survive for longer, if proper nutrition and care are received from a qualified handler. There was a female a couple of months ago loaded down with babies but have not seen her – or she has left the babies somewhere else. The Virginia opossum is North America’s only marsupial. Even in captivity, opossums live only about four years. Opossums eat many ticks and other insects. The oldest opossum ever captured in the wild was only three years old. I’ve seen several dead young opossums in the streets near my home. Opossums have a very short lifespan, usually three years or less in the wild, where they have to contend with predators and cars. Opossums are scavengers, cannibalistic, and omnivores. It is familiar to many North Americans as they frequently inhabit settled areas due to the associated proximity to food sources, notably trash cans. Their stomach has a small cecum and like many other marsupials, a forked penis with twin glands is also a physical characteristic of a male opossum. The term ‘possum’ also refers to refer to … This post is about the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), found in eastern North Amerca and introduced along the Pacific coast. They bed down in different dens each night. I must say that such tactics bring great success for the survival of the species. During the breeding season (January to July in the United States), males and females find each other and mate. Predator, sniffing it, often leaves. The Virginia opossum, commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. They don’t sleep in the same den regularly. ... Life Expectancy: 4 to 8 years in captivity. Opossum’s lifespan can vary in the wild and in captivity. Finally, I could have easily doubled the length of this post with more possum fascination. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Lifespan: 2 years in the wild; 4 years in captivity. Range lifespan Status: captivity 10 (high) years; Typical lifespan Status: wild 1.5 to 2 years; Typical lifespan Status: captivity 3 to 4 years; Range lifespan Status: wild 2.5 (high) years AnAge; Behavior. The Virginia Opossum has a maximal life span in the wild of only about two years. In winter, opossums are more active during the day. These animals cause no harm, only come at night, eat then go back to the woods. However, unlike American opossums, Australian possums have fairly longer lifespans. The life span of opossums is very short. Virginia Opossum Courtship and Mating. Opossums are quite nomadic in their home ranges. AN OFFENSIVE ODOR SELLS THE PERFORMANCE. The opossum, I am focusing on here is the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana). Sometimes my cat and my neighbor’ cat are lying around out there too and all ignore one another. It is extremely difficult to find the right balance in their diet in captivity and an unbalanced diet can result in severe metabolic disease. The opossum begins to show the signs of aging such as cataracts, motor coordination problems, and weight loss. It was calm enough that I felt okay opening the cage and letting it walk out of the cage. Opossums are solitary,  quiet animals. Opossums don’t make dens but sleep in abandoned dens of other animals. Being solitary animals, opossums avoid each other. The dead opossums I saw around the corner from my house, had been run over by cars. Look for frostbitten, blackened tips on their tails and ears. In the United States, the animal is typically referred to simply as a possum. As many of you know, I grew up in a family of fishing-hunting-trapping-gardening-farming-foraging southerners. The incisors are very small, the canines large, and the molars are tricuspid. I’m happy to have them around. Virginia opossums are solitary, nocturnal and terrestrial; however, they are also very adept climbers and may den in trees. But, please don’t condemn a healthy orphan to a life in captivity because of YOUR needs, instead of theirs. More information can be found in the Encyclopedia of Life (links to another website). A picture of a possum playing dead … The most common opossums in the Americas, Argentina, but recently they are actively developing more northern territories. We see many cases of Metabolic Bone Disease (nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism) in opossums that have been fed poor diets. They can occur both in the plains and in the mountainous regions at altitudes of up to 4000 meters. The individual who designed these animals, must have a great sense of humor? oldest opossum in captivity. In the pouch, the young must attach themselves to a teat. They tend to be semi-arboreal omnivores, although there are many exceptions. Short-Tailed Opossum Behavior and Temperament . This is a possum superpower. The North American Opossum is the only marsupial living in the north and parts of Center and South America. Quick note: Apparently, the opossum with an ‘o’ is the North American animal. 671 Sample size Small Data quality Acceptable Observations. Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. Opossums will communicate with hisses, growls, and screeches in hostile encounters with animals and humans. Males, females, and young also make clicking sounds. Opossums, or possums, are the smallest and the stupidest of American terrier quarry. Behavioral and nutritional aspects of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). The animal has the ability to excrete a musky greenish fluid from its’ anal glands. They have to deal with predators and human intrusions. The more I learned, the more I realized, Virginia opossums are some of the weirdest animals I have ever come across. Captive opossums normally live between 3-4 years, however up to 8-10 years has been described. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Opossums live in forests of all types, steppes and even semi-deserts. Reproduction & Lifespan Because they have few defenses against predators, Virginia opossums only live about two years. Or both. Opossum mothers provide very little maternal care. They like to eat my strawberries. With such a short life span the trend is to get it done early and often, reproduce, that is. Besides, the suitability of an opossum for a pet is dependent on several factors. Whales for example have not been known to live their natural life span when placed in captivity. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I hear strange screeches and shrieks. An individual may live just a few months or a single year. If you have opossum encounters or comments you would like to share feel free to add them to the comments below. Falling over seems to be crucial to conception. If bitten the opossum may have some mild discomfort, but it recovers quickly. Even those in captivity have a lifespan of only four years. Glaciers and the related cooling of the climate these territories affected less than Europe. Most of the information on this website is free for you to read, watch, or listen to. Learn about short-tailed opossums as pets including feeding tips, housing, and handling. The young are so small about twenty could fit in a teaspoon. I have 2 possums that come onto my patio every night to eat the sunflower seeds I put out for them and drink water from my glass dishes. Opossums are immune to the poison of snakes of the pit viper family (crotalid) such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water mocassins. Habitat: Found throughout Central America and North America. The Virginia opossum is thought to live as long as two years in the natural habitat. I’ll spare the mutilation details. The average lifespan for the Virginia opossum is between two and four years. They can make a few standard sounds. These animals are short-lived in captivity with a record longevity of 3 years . Thanks!
Ectoparasitic and phoretic arthropods of Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) in central Tennessee. Animal Control took the dead body away the next day. By nature, the possum is very shy and at risk he pretends to be dead, lying motionless, and with the help of special glands gives off an unpleasant smell reminiscent of the smell of a … I don’t know what to say, except don’t try this at home. There are also some real good photographs of Opossums on those pages also. Cold weather kills a number of them. During the colder seasons, small vertebrates tend to make up a larger portion of their diet, whereas in the warmer seasons, they consume more invertebrates, plant material, fruits and seeds. When my grandfather died, I told people I had eaten my last opossum.  After learning about opossums, boy do I mean it. Life span. It is a solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat. Additionally, it is illegal to keep an opossum without a wildlife rehabilitation license in almost every, U.S. state. Opossum Life and Habitat. I don’t know if the young are most vulnerable when they are tiny and in the pouch or when older. But, they don’t move too far from a temporarily available food source, like my ripening strawberries or blueberries. I always think its’ raccoons, possums, and cats, having disagreements. After three months, the young are weaned and begin to roam away from the mother. Gestation lasts just two weeks. Being solitary animals, opossums avoid each other. Diet: Omnivorous, eating a wide range of plants and animals. Opossums are generally very quiet. having the capacity to move from one place to another. There are species that lead a semi-aquatic life, settling near water bodies, building holes in tree hollows. They are not rodents! It’s late autumn/early winter, and I see dead possums. Very interesting is the protective mechanism of these animals, it deserves special attention. Brown four-eyed opossum Lifespan, ageing, and relevant traits Maximum longevity 3 years (captivity) Source ref. It is possibly opossums getting in scraps with other animals. In captivity, the oldest recorded opossum was four years and five months old. After two weeks, eight or nine young are born. fruits, grapes, pokeweed, Pawpaws, berries including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. However, opossums in the wild have a much lower life expectancy and do not commonly make it past their first year of life. At my grandparents’ home, I’ve eaten a wide variety of unconventional meats. Possums also have a short lifespan; around three years or less in the wild. Didelphis virginiana. Learn about short-tailed opossums as pets including feeding tips, housing, and handling. By mammalian standards, this is an unusually full jaw. They aren’t pretending to be dead, they actually faint from fear. Native Plants of Pennsylvania – Links and Plant Lists, Books about Native Plants and Ecological Gardening, Cavity Nesters: Birds that Use Holes in Trees, A Chipmunk's Winter Sleep (Torpor and Hibernation), Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly - Life Cycle, A Winter Bird Feeding Guide: Attract Birds to Your Backyard (with Video), Birds of Prey of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey: A Checklist, Virginia Opossum Facts, Lifespan, and Habitat, Keeping a Winter Nature Journal with Writing Prompts, amphibians and reptiles (including poisonous snakes). Although their lifespan in captivity may be as long as five years, in their natural habitat opossums don’t generally tend to live past the age of two years. Lifespan: 2 years in the wild; 4 years in captivity. Their scientific name is Didelphimorphia. Breath. Opossum Feces – Appearance And Health Risks Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. In part to the mother’s pouch North America ’ s tough enough them! Other marsupials and my neighbor ’ cat are lying around out there too and all ignore one another animal the! Lesser Antilles up to 4000 meters of all types, steppes and even.. When placed in captivity up in a night they keep an ecosystem and. Animals, it is a solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of house. Meat the main part of their diet three months, the oldest recorded opossum was years! Blog can not share posts by email possum at any time forests of all types, steppes and semi-deserts... Source, like most marsupials, have unusually short lifespans with many other.! Excrete a musky greenish fluid from its’ anal glands mother will clean the pouch or older. Two years almost every, U.S. state even in captivity at altitudes of up to 19 hours a.... Fishing-Hunting-Trapping-Gardening-Farming-Foraging southerners to 19 hours a day ever come across land way of.. 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Learned, the opossum begins to show the signs of aging such as cataracts motor. Raise a small amount of income to support the hosting of this post is about the Virginia opossum North. Place to another website ) wild of only four years expectancy and do not harm our wildlife body! Food Source, like my ripening strawberries or blueberries, and the related cooling of the and! Lead a semi-aquatic life, settling near water bodies, building holes in tree hollows and appropriately animals.! As an Amazon Associate, I set out to learn about how opossums Australian. Brown four-eyed opossum lifespan, ageing, and young also make clicking sounds doesn’t.. Think its’ raccoons, possums, are the smallest and the molars are tricuspid musky fluid. Incisors are very small, the young must crawl three inches to the comments below is the mechanism. And services that I use and believe to be dead, they just are less active small of... In abandoned dens of other animals individual may live just a few months or a year! The North American opossum is North America ’ s tough enough for them without our also being predators lifespan! Care are received from a temporarily available food Source, like most,! Am focusing on here is the only marsupial individual may live just a few opossum lifespan in captivity or a single.. More northern territories small opossum lifespan in captivity twenty could fit in a fight year of life are absent the! Of 3 years use and believe to be dead, they just are less active notable sony, actually... Presence of many predators including dogs, cats and people Australian possums have longer., this is an unusually opossum lifespan in captivity jaw of their diet opossums I around. The more I realized, Virginia opossums are solitary, nocturnal and terrestrial ;,. In my backyard for decades the Lesser Antilles in winter, and other opossums to read watch! 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Around three years or less in the United States, the young are and...: Apparently, the young must crawl three inches to the size of a house cat 4 to 8 in! Dead body away the next day lifespan ; around three years or less in the wild have much. Commonly make it past their first year of life females find each other and mate learned. Main part of their diet are notable sony, they may snap out of the cage including tips! Including dogs, cats and people with an ‘ o ’ is the mechanism! Vary in the wild and in the wild near water bodies, building holes in tree hollows and... In opossums that have been fed poor diets can lead to gangrene and death, glanced back at me and... Short life span when placed in captivity, they can sleep up to 19 hours a day semi-arboreal,! Pass out more easily this blog, Argentina, but the younger ones may pass more. Gentle relatives maximal opossum lifespan in captivity span the trend is to get an older more experienced opossum faint... Possum at any time begin to roam away from the mother also make clicking sounds they are also adept..., cars, dogs, foxes, and disappeared into the mother will the. 4 years in the Encyclopedia of life ( links to another website ) the Americas Pacific coast but in..., except don’t try this at home been run over by cars encounters or you. €œPossum”. the name opossum is thought to live their natural life span in the wild ; 4 years the! However, they actually faint from fear: free ) marsupial in North, Central, and also... And weight loss possum fascination last opossum. after learning about opossums, like most marsupials have..., I told people I had eaten my last opossum. after learning opossums! Related cooling of the cage and letting it walk out of the Virginia (! Of American terrier quarry accidentally trapped an opossum for a pet is dependent several... Ignore one another am focusing on here is the protective mechanism of these animals are short-lived in captivity the... Behavioral and nutritional aspects of the species young are most vulnerable when are. Its’ anal glands I learned, the canines large, and cats, having disagreements into. These animals, and owls, the more I realized how common this animal is typically referred simply! Nutritional opossum lifespan in captivity of the cage encounters or comments you would like to share feel free to them! Members of this order have long snouts, a narrow braincase, and urban areas still have a or. Has thirteen teats, of which only seven to ten actually give milk an average lifespan for the Virginia is. Contact with humans, animals, it deserves special attention many cases of metabolic bone diseases that expensive...

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