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10 Odd Opossum Facts – Mississippi Wildlife

OpossumIf you spend any time outdoors in Mississippi, you’ve probably come across an opossum ambling through the woods or maybe you’ve seen one in the yard digging through your trash!

These furry marsupials are pretty interesting and can do some amazing things. We’ve compiled some of our favorite odd opossum facts in this article:

#1 Baby opossums are born completely helpless.

They are only about an inch long when born and they immediately crawl into their mother’s pouch where they continue to develop

#2 Female opossums can give birth to up to 20 babies at a time.

However, less than half of these survive.

#3 They have a strong resistance to rabies

Their resistance is like a near-immunity to the disease.

#4 They can survive the venom from a snake bite.

Opossums have a certain level of natural immunity to snake venom.

#5 They are a form of natural pest control.

Opossums eat snails, mice, rats, insects, slugs, and beetles (as well as carrion, frogs, eggs, etc). They help keep populations of rats and cockroaches down by competing with them for food.

#6 They are fastidious groomers, picking off and eating around 96% of ticks that end up on their bodies.

They might eat as many as 5,000 ticks per season.

#7 They have an awesome tail that can grip things.

This prehensile tail can be used to help them climb things and hold on.

#8 They are great at climbing trees!

Their prehensile tail and sharp claws help them climb up and grab on to tree limbs and trunks.

#9 Opossums are generally nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night.

You might see one occasionally wandering around in the daytime when food is scarce.

#10 If an opossum is caught out in the open and is attacked, it will ‘play possum.’

This is a physical response to danger that is involuntary – and it can last a few minutes to hours. When ‘playing possum,’ the animal will fall down, becoming immobile. It may stick its tongue out, excrete urine and feces, drool or foam at the mouth, and generally appear as if it is dead.  Most predators will not eat a dead animal. The opossum will revive after the danger is gone.

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