Didelphis virginiana

Other Common Names

Virginia Opossum

Back to top


This traditionally southern mammal is expanding its range north. It lives in open woodlands and forest edges, with a preference for habitat with streams, diverse plants, and many den sites such as hollow logs, and it tolerates suburban and urban areas.

Back to top


An omnivore, the opossum eats fruits, worms, insects, eggs, and anything edible.

Back to top

Distinctive Characteristics

This two foot long marsupial, about the size of a housecat, has white fur with longer gray hairs, a long, scaly prehensile tail, a long snout with 50 teeth, and ears that often show signs of frostbite. When cornered, the opossum falls into a deathlike state (playing ‘possum). Opossum are known to be immune to snake venom and rarely get rabies.

Back to top


Mostly nocturnal.

Back to top

Reproduction & Family Structure

Mates in late winter, and seven to nine young are born in March, spending the first two months in mom’s pouch. Opossum are the only marsupial in the United States.

Back to top