Have You Hugged Your Opossum Today?

Even scavengers that hiss at your dog and root through your trash deserve to be loved. Just watch out for those 52 pointy teeth (that's more than any other land mammal!).

Fun facts about the opossum:

  • They are only marsupial found in North America.
  • They have prehensile tails but they cannot hang upside down from them once they reach adult size.
  • They typically only live 2 or 3 years.
  • Gestation is only 12-14 days. When the babies (usually around 15-20 at a time!) are born they can all fit in a tablespoon and must crawl into the mother's pouch and attach themselves to a teat. Only about 12 will manage it.
  • They have at least a partial resistance to many kinds of snake venom, including that of cottonmouths and rattlesnakes.
  • Playing Possum, in which the animal plays dead, drools, and emits the odor of rotting flesh, is an involuntary behavior. They regain consciousness within a few minutes to an hour.

 

Opossum at Potter Park Zoo

The opossum is just one of several education animals at the zoo that are native to Michigan. Not only can you learn about exotic animals at Potter Park, you can also view and learn all about animals found in your own backyard and in the forests and wetlands across our great state.