The Baby opossum belongs to the taxonomic group of marsupials, which is a distinct class within the mammalian category. Indeed, they are the sole marsupials indigenous to North America.
Marsupials lack placentas, necessitating the presence of a specialized pouch wherein their offspring reside for an approximate duration of three months subsequent to parturition.
The young marsupials rely on nursing from their mothers until they develop the strength to venture beyond the pouch.
After emerging from the pouch, a juvenile opossum exhibits a broad dietary range, consuming many food sources such as insects, fruits, and even refuse.
How Do I Describe the Baby Opossum?
The term “joey” is used to refer to a young opossum. All marsupial species possess offspring referred to as “joeys,” and possums adhere to this convention as well.
Inquiring individuals may be interested to know that the designation ‘joeys’ is employed to refer to infant marsupials, as it bears phonetic resemblance to the Aboriginal term denoting ‘little one.’
In the context of some species, it is customary to refer to fully matured males as “jacks” and fully matured females as “jills.” A collective noun used to refer to a group of baby opossums is “passel.”
Opossums have a commonality in the naming of their offspring with other marsupials such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and wombats.
What are the Did You Know Facts About the Baby Opossum?
1. To Escape Predators, the Baby Opposum Play Dead:
In natural habitats, opossums typically assume the role of prey rather than predators. As a result of this, they have developed the ability to simulate death.
The utilization of this defensive strategy offers opossums an effective means of ensuring their safety by avoiding direct confrontation with predators, therefore reducing the likelihood of their demise.
What is the observable behaviour of an opossum while it engages in thanatosis? The individuals collapse, have muscular rigidity, and exhibit immobility.
There is a prevalent belief among individuals that this activity is voluntary; nevertheless, the reality is exactly the contrary.
In instances of heightened stress, the opossum may experience a loss of consciousness or fainting. The occurrence of this phenomenon is completely beyond its control.
While the opossum lacks the ability to do this feat upon request, it undeniably possesses advantageous qualities.
The act of feigning death serves as a protective mechanism by avoiding potential interactions that may lead to the demise of the animal.
Given the involuntary nature of the behaviour, joeys do not necessitate dependence on their own decision-making abilities for self-protection.
Conversely, their physiological systems are inherently programmed to safeguard their well-being upon seeing any initial indications of threat.
The inherent security mechanism exhibits a consistent lack of malfunction, which is quite remarkable, wouldn’t you agree?
2. The Baby Opossum Has the Ability to Survive Predators At Night:
The baby opossums occupy a lower trophic level within the ecological hierarchy, rendering them susceptible to a multitude of predatory organisms within their natural habitat.
As a consequence, individuals are compelled to employ innovative strategies in order to safeguard themselves against potential threats from predators.
One of the prominent evolutionary characteristics that confer an advantage to possums in this region is their preferred activity period during the day.
The Baby opossum exhibits nocturnal behaviours, characterized by their predominant activity throughout the evening hours.
The individual exhibits a significantly impaired visual acuity, necessitating a heavy reliance on auditory and olfactory senses for their survival.
Opossum joeys are able to successfully traverse and thrive in their native habitat thanks to their impressive flexibility and rapid acquisition of survival skills learned from their maternal carers.
Read also: Did You Know Facts About the Baby Camel
3. The Baby Opossum Is Immune To Venom:
This phenomenon can be attributed to the production of a unique protein by opossums, which exhibits similarities to antivenom.
The protein present in the blood of opossums exhibits the ability to counteract the toxic effects of venom, rendering it a valuable resource in the development of antivenom formulations since the 1940s.
However, what is the rationale behind the necessity of administering antivenom to a possum? The primary purpose of this measure is to safeguard the individuals in question from a significant threat, namely, snakes.
When subjected to a bite, the opossum experiences only minor injuries, as the venom does not inflict harm onto the creature.
Infant opossums have immunity to poison derived from scorpions, bees, and various other venomous creatures.
Upon birth, baby opossums exhibit diminutive proportions akin to those of a bee, with a weight ranging from around 0.10 to 0.15 grams.
By the age of three months, their weight will have increased by approximately 150 grams, a relatively modest increment that remains below one pound.
The weight of adult possums, including their tails, ranges from 5 to 15 pounds. Opossums exhibit a preference for habitats characterized by a certain level of dampness, such as those adjacent to streams and marshlands.
While their habitat preferences are not particularly discerning, they do exhibit a proclivity for arboreal habitats and derive sustenance from the consumption of insects.
These animals exhibit a preference for constructing burrows, which serve the purpose of reducing their metabolic rate during the winter season and maintaining thermal comfort. Thanks for reading!