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axlegear

GOD DAMNED OPOSSUMS!  Ask me anything!

SO, since I became the caretaker of a virginiana didelphis (opossum for you rednecks) named Pollo, i've been amazed at the lack of information people have about an animal native to their back yards!

So, i'm encouraging you all to ask me about opossums. Anything, really! I'll answer with what I know.


First, a few ultra-basics:
They're marsupials, closely related to koalas. They are not rats, or rodent-like.
They have very bad eyesight.
They do not carry rabies, their body temperature is too low- even when exposed, the virus dies off.
They do not carry any known diseases that can infect humans, although their bites are prone to becoming infected.
They bite only very rarely, and always a result of doing something really stupid, like outright hurting them.
They can be tamed with amazing ease. (Not reccomended)
They have a true omnivorous diet, eating small rodents, lizards, insects, bird eggs, fruit, vegetables, and carrion when nothing else is available.
They do not sleep upside down.
They cannot suspend themselves by their tail for long, especially as they get older.
They do not have sex through the nose.
They do have opposeable thumbs.
They are intelligent.
They are naturally potty-trainable.
It is illegal to own one as a pet without a wildlife rehabilitator's license, and should always be released to the wild when possible.
Several states have a 'kill-on-sight' vermin extermination order for opossums, because they may carry a bacteria which can make horses sick if the horse ingests the opossum's faeces.
Opossums are very clean, spending as much time cleaning as cats (or more, depending on the cat)
Opossums are extremely quiet animals, typically making no noise at all- they may hiss or growl when upset.



Alright. That covers all the stuff you should already know. Now, ask me some tough ones!
Viewed: 8 times
Added: 5 years, 3 months ago
 
Arcturus
5 years, 3 months ago
POSMS :D
axlegear
5 years, 3 months ago
Or, as they say in their own language, *Catfish growl*.

Seriously, even their growl is adoreable.  It's just like a catfish croaking.  =D  Pollo is so adoreable.  SO FUCKING ADORBS!


So, what's your question?
Arcturus
5 years, 3 months ago
I have no question.

I'm just a possum lover :3
snowglider2319
5 years, 3 months ago
DID SOMEONE SAY OPOSSUMS? Gosh, I love opossums~  How did you happen to get yours? Rehabbing? How old is s/he? GOT ANY PICS? CUTE STORIES?? I have a little opossum bastard of my own, but he is of a different species (short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica, AKA the best pets ever).

I don't mean to be a DICK, but I wanted to correct you on a couple of things and add my own OPOSSUM FACTS, because I'm so fucking nerdy about marsupials you don't even know. They are my baaabiiiees~

The proper binomial of the Virginia opossum is Didelphis virginiana, not the reverse.

"Closely related to koalas" is really misleading. Although they are closer to koalas than they are to rats, opossums are still American marsupials, while koalas are from Australia. There is a rather large gap between them with regards to both distance and evolution. People already try to lump all marsupials into a single taxonomical order, so it kinda miffs me when people say things like that! It's like calling a lemur and a squirrel close relatives.

Speaking of my pickiness, the whole opossum/possum thing rather bothers me, too. They aren't interchangeable terms; much the same as above, there is quite a difference between the two groups. Possums are from Australasia, and opossums are from the Americas. Calling an opossum a 'possum is shortening its proper name, and calling a possum an opossum is completely archaic.

There are actually over 60 different species of opossums! The Virginia opossum is the only one that lives north of Mexico—the rest occupy central and South America.

The vast majority of opossums do not "play dead"—in fact, the Virginia opossum is the only one that does so regularly. A close relative, the white-eared opossum (Didelphis albiventris) has been reported to, but rarely.

Not all opossums (or all marsupials for that matter) have pouches! Most small opossum species lack pouches, as do most small dasyurids (relatives of the Tasmanian devil). Also, male marsupials do not have pouches, only females do.

The only semi-aquatic marsupial is an opossum: The water opossum or yapok (Chironectus minimus).

Honestly, I have a few more dumb things I could add, BUT I'M DONE. SORRY FOR BEING A GEEK.
axlegear
5 years, 3 months ago
In order:

He (and family) were found living off a bag of busted cat chow at Wal-Mart.  Their age (newly weaned) suggested they had been there a while, combined with the fact he has visible bone deformation due to metabolic bone disease, a common result of improper diet with too little calcium (such as cat chow).
He is currently in the 'adolescent/young adult' phase, just old enough to be too big for mamma and ready to set out on his own.  If he could walk straight.
No, yes, and cool.  Didelphis Virginiana make better, easier pets though, IMHO.  Much more affectionate, too.

And a koala is the closest in the family to opossums, so it's still accurate!  Just because the relatives are twice removed, doesn't make them any less relatives!  If anything it's fascinating to see how independantly they've split and evolved, when others (see:  Canidae) have changed little.

TL;DR:  English sucks

The rest:  Duh facts!  =D
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