Opossum vs Possum (Difference Between Possum and Opossum)

possum vs opossum

Opossums and possums are two different animals that have often considered to be similar creatures. However, both are marsupials, but possums have determined as strictly related to kangaroos. People often get confused between both of them because in North America they call shorten opossum as possums. Today we will discuss briefly how these animals distinguish from one another. 

What is opossum?

The opossum is the common name that have used for all the medium-sized marsupial mammals. These mammals had characterized by a long neck, naked tail, long pointed snout, opposable thumbs in their hands and feet. Their body is covered with white-grayish fur, which can turn black, brown, or albino on rare occasions. 

Where does an opossum live? 

The opossum is the only marsupial species that have found outside Australia. These have seen from southern Canada to Argentina and Chile in South America. The preferred habitat of opossums is deciduous woodlands, where they can find water sources. However, these are incredibly adaptable species to adopt a variety of habitat and climates. 

How many species of opossums are there?

More than 60 different species of opossums are there.

What is the size of the opossum?

Opossums are similar the size of small dogs; they are around 2.5 feet in length from their nose to tail. These marsupials weigh from 8.8 to 13.2 pounds. 

What do opossum eat?

Opossums are omnivorous that feeds on both vegetation and meat; however, they are known for scavenging through the trash. In the wild, these mammals feed on nuts, grasses, and fruits. Although, they will also hunt for insects, mice, wild birds, small snakes, and worms. 

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Opossum reproduction: 

Opossums are known to reproduce twice a year. After the mating is done, the male leaves and never returns. The female can deliver up to 20 live young at a time after the gestation of 12 to 13 days. Baby opossums are known as joeys that are about the size of a bean at the time of birth. After birth, they crawl into their mother’s pouch and develop theirs. Even when the joeys grew up, the mother carries them on their back. They live with their mother for about 100 days. 

Facts About Opossum:

  • Opossums have neither good eyesight nor strong hearing capacity. But they have a great sense of smell which helps them to hunt food.
  • They are excellent climbers and spend much of their time alone. 
  • The main predators of opossums are dogs, foxes, bobcats, hawks, and owls. 
  • These mammals have a robust immune system that can take venom of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and pit vipers. 
  • Opossums have 50 teeth that are not observed in any other North American mammal. 
  • They are delicious to play dead, to trick predators they will flop down and be very still with their tongue hanging out. 
  • Although opossums hiss at humans, they rarely get aggressive.
  • Male opossums are called jacks, while the females as jills. The group of opossums is known as passel. 

Opossum behavior:

Opossums are nocturnal foraging in the night. It is unusual to see an opossum out during the day in the winters. When these species are threatened, they will play possum mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. Although these marsupials do not hibernate, they live in burrows filled with dry leaves during winters. On the other hand, in summers, they lick themselves and cover their fur in the spit to stay calm. 

How long does opossum live?

Opossums have a short lifespan; in the wild, they can survive for three years or even less. In captivity, they can live twice as their age in the wild. 

Are opossum endangered?

Some opossum species are listed as endangered or extinct; the common opossum is classified as least concern under the IUCN. The population of the common opossum is stable.

What is possum?

Possums are sub-order of 70 trees-dwelling marsupials living in Australia. Brush-tailed is the most abundant mammals widely distributed and frequently encountered among all the Australian marsupials. They are about as big as domestic cats with a long pointed snout, pink nose, large ears, and whiskers. These species use their sharp claws to climb trees and comb their fur. Brush-tailed possums vary in color and size. The population living in Tasmania, tend to be gray or black and adapted to survive in a cold climate. In comparison, those living in Queensland have copper-colored and smaller.

Where does possum live?

The possums had widely distributed in Australia. They have seen in bush lands, forests, and woodlands along the east coast. And also live in the inland areas along rivers and creeks. Possums live in hollow trees and logs.

How many species of possums are there? 

There are around 69 different species of possums that have found in a wide variety of colors and sizes. 

What is the size of a possum?

The average size of a possum is from 1.9 to 4.7 inches, and they can weigh between 0.22 to 32 pounds. However, the pygmy possum is the smallest species of a possum that measures 4 inches tall while the brush-tailed is the largest one that can grow to 40 inches. 

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What do possum eat?

Possums are omnivorous and feed on a variety of both plants and animals. Their diet includes anything that they find, including insects, leaves, flowers, fruits, nectar, small mammals, birds, and even reptiles. Possums have known scavengers and attracted to trash, uncovered compost heaps, and other containers are lying outside. People had troubled by these mammals and wanted to keep them away. Now when they think that what will keep possums away from their yard? The easy solution is to spray the outside of the trash can with a mixture of half amount of ammonia and half amount of water. They hate this smell and will stay away.

Possum reproduction:

Although possums are solitary animals, they have come together only to mate. Rather than having a specific breeding season, these marsupials have known to mate throughout the year. The female delivers between 2 to 4 baby possums after the gestation period a couple of weeks. Being marsupial, the female carries the offspring in her pouch. The babies crawl and stay in the pouch until they get bigger. Generally, only one of the possum babies will survive and appear from the pouch after 6 to 7 months. 

Possum behavior:

Possums are nocturnal animals and only hunts for food at night. They spend day time resting in hollow trees away from their predator’s sight. These species have several predators in the wild such as foxes, cats, and birds. Although many other animals prey on them like Tasmanian devils, dogs, dingo, and snake. 

How long does possum live?

Possums can survive an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years.

Are possum endangered?

According to the IUCN red list of threatened species, possums are classified as least concern. In some areas, possums had seen as pests as they hunt in urban waste. They had not considered as threatened, but some of their species had considered vulnerable and endangered. 

Opossum vs Possum: Fight Comparison 

As both the marsupials habitat in two different regions, they are not to face each other. This simply means a fight between opossum and possum is not possible. Although, these mammals have known to have a battle with raccoons and cats. 

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