05.15.2005 - This is one of the better nature photos that I've taken. A customer called me, concerned about an opossum on their property. They said that the
opossum has been living under their shed for several months now, and it's driving their dog crazy. The homeowner said that she has been reluctant to let her dog out when
it's around, for fear that her dog will harm the mother opossum or the babies, or that the mother will attack the dog out of self-defense and to protect its young. Thus,
when she did let her dog out and the opossum went up in a tree and she felt that it could be captured, she finally called me to remove and relocate the animal(s).
I arrived at the house near dusk, and there was the mother possum with its young clinging to its back. I took a few photos of the scene. I got my stepladder and gently removed the opossum and put it in a holding cage, along with the young, who clung on for dear life the entire time. I brought the lot about 20 miles from the capture site and let them go there, where there's no houses or dogs.
I think that they will do fine. Opossums are very nomadic, and the young just drop off of mama anyway, and have to fend for themselves. This particular female was sticking around one yard for a long time, because she found good shelter under the shed and easy food in the pet bowl, but I do think that opossums are animals that tolerate relocation very well, and that she'll find another spot to hole up.
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The opossum, (Didelphis virginiana) is a nocturnal animal that lives in North America. It is a marsupial, which means that the females give birth to tiny young, who grow in a pouch. These young eventually cling to the mother's back and drop off when they are large enough. Opossums are unique for many reasons. They have opposable thumbs, prehensile tails, 50 teeth, and several other unusual features. They are omnivores who eat almost anything, they have excellent immune systems, and they rarely live more than 2-3 years in the wild. They are most commonly considered a nuisance species when they live in an attic or other structure, such as under a shed, or steal pet food or threaten animals.
Opossum baby information - It is always adorable whenever anything has babies, but this is very much so the case when it is a wild animal, such as the opossum, simply because it is not something that you are expected to see every day. If you have opossum babies in your home or yard, you very well could be taking all the steps necessary to have them removed safely, but it is always a good idea to know exactly what you are dealing with.
Once the opossum babies are born, they will often crawl along to the pouch that the mama has, (hence the marsupial title, just like kangaroos) and stay there until they have been weaned. This process normally takes around a couple of months – sometimes more, sometimes less. You can also expect to have around fifteen to twenty of the little critters, but obviously some of these die from natural causes.
It has been said that, in some cases, the babies will stay with their mother, or at least at the place in which they were born, up until they reach sexual maturity, which is around about a year old. This means that if you have them in your attic – you are going to be in for a lengthy wait when you expect them to leave.
Although these opossum babies may be cute, with their tiny sneezing "choo choo" sounds and their cute little bodies, they will bring their fair share of drama, especially when it comes to attracting other wild animals, leaving the feces and urine all over the place, and the threat of disease, and that is before you even begin to think about what would happen if the poor thing was to die and you may need to go hunting for it!
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Possums are marsupials, the only marsupials that you can find in North America. They have many unique and beautiful characteristics that include playing dead and hanging down from a tree with their tails.
Their reproduction is very different from most mammals because they give birth to their young alive and have pouches where the young fully develop. Another marsupial of this nature is the kangaroo, which also has a pouch where the young develop and feed after birth.
After mating, possums give birth to their young in twelve to thirteen days and can have as many as eighteen babies.
Opossums give birth to premature babies that must crawl from the birth canal into the pouch on their mother. In the pouch, they struggle for milk, which is essential for their full development, and any baby possum that does not access the teat or get sufficient milk will die. The mouths of baby opossums fuse with the breast to ensure that the babies get enough nutrition to sustain them.
The mother moves about with her babies in the pouch, and it is easy for her to find food for herself. It is also an advantage when escaping from danger, and even when she plays dead to escape from a predator, the babies are safe in the pouch.
Reproduction takes place twice in a year, and possums do not mate for life. Once the Jack (male) mates withn the Jill (female), he leaves and does not return. The Jill then gives birth to helpless and blind babies that are as small as queen bees, which develop and form fully in her pouch. Baby opossums spend approximately two months in their mother's pouch where they grow. After this time, they will begin to go out of the pouch for very short periods and come back in to sleep and feed.
The babies eventually outgrow the pouch and attach to their mother's back instead. She carries them with her this way for about a month before they can live and survive on their own. The babies can attach to her back through the help of their opposable thumbs and their tails.
Although they can give birth to as many as 20 babies at once, less than half of these babies survive. This owes to many unpleasant conditions and the competition for milk in the pouch, which is the only means of nutrition for the babies for the first few months after birth. The babies that attach to the teat do not detach until they develop fully, so those that do not connect to the breast will have no food and will eventually die.
Opossums have a life span of about two years, and this is lesser for those that are in the wild. The baby opossums like baby kangaroos are joeys. You can see a mother possum carrying up to 10 joeys on her back. Their tails serve as a fifth appendage, and they use it to attach themselves to her back and hang down from trees later in their lives.