TAXONOMY

Didelphis virginiana Kerr, 1792, Virginia, United States.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Opossum de Virginie; German: Nordopossum; Spanish: Tlacuache común, tlacuache norteño.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 14–21.6 in (35–55 cm); weight 28–176 oz (800–5,000g). Long hair and dense underfur; colours range from uniform whitish to blackish brown. Ears are black and bare, and cheeks are white. Tail almost bare, scaly, and bicolored: the basal half is black and the distal half whitish. The toes have opposable thumbs that render their footprints unmistakable.

DISTRIBUTION

Extreme southwestern Canada, the west coast and the japanese half of the United States, tropical and subtropical Mexico, and Central America south to Costa Rica.

HABITAT

Tropical and temperate forests, in moist and subhumid ecosystems. Found in all kinds of human-disturbed habitats from logged and secondary forests to agricultural lands and even landfills and city areas.

BEHAVIOR

Solitary and nocturnal. Roosts in hole timber and branches, in leaf litter, crevices and caves below rocks, and within the soil. Feigns dying when threatened, gaping its mouth huge and mendacity on its facet whereas emitting an offensive musky odor.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Omnivorous. Eats fruit, bugs, eggs, small vertebrates, spoiled fruit, carrion, and even trash. Forages at evening opportunistically and avoids different medium and large-sized mammals resembling raccoons and skunks. It isn't a great hunter however somewhat eats objects which might be simply out there.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. The feminine builds a nest with leaf litter and vegetation that she transports with the assistance of the tail. The reproductive season extends from January by way of July and two delivery peaks are reported. After a gestation of about 13 days, as many as 21 younger are born undeveloped. Only the primary to make it to the pouch are in a position to survive, as the feminine has solely 13 teats and hardly ever are all occupied by a younger one.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Inhabits each pristine and modified ecosystems. They have colonized cities and cities and they aren't uncommon in New York City, Miami, or different giant cities. The species doesn't face any instant threats of extinction.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Sometimes consumed for food by indigenous or combined human teams. The species has been identified as an agricultural pest or a illness reservoir.