About Opossum: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior

Opossums are also known in the biology circles as Didelphimorphia. These animals are considered by biologists as the largest members of Marsupialis in the whole world. Opossums are known to be scavengers who are attracted by cans. This is the reason why these animals invade human homes and the reason why they decent on people’s dumpsters. There are over 103 species of opossums today in the world. These animals are known for their adaptability to various weather conditions.


Opossums belong to mammals. They have a small-sized body. Their length is about 76 cm. These animals weight up to 13.2 lb. Opossums look like mice.

Their snouts are long. The facial shape of opossums resembles the facial shape of a dog. Opossums also have tiny incisors teeth. However, they have large molar and large canine teeth. Their braincase is narrow. These mammals have flat feet that feature an opposable digit claw.


As we have mentioned earlier, opossums are mammals and they belong to the biological family called Didelphidae. The mating season of opossums begins in February and it usually lasts to June. Female opossums can reproduce several times per year.

Opossums of the female sex can give birth to as many as 20 young ever year. Sadly, only a quarter of newborn opossums will survive after their birth.

Life Cycle

A female opossum can give birth to a plethora of opossum babies during one year. Opossum young are weaned after 80 days on average.

The lifespan of an opossum is quite short for a mammal of such size and it is on average four years.


You can find opossums inhabiting South America, North America, and Central America. The most common type of opossum, the Virginia opossum, can be found all the way from Canada to Central America.

However, other types of opossums can only be found south of the United States of America. You can find the Virginia opossum inhabiting wooded areas mostly. These animals are known as scavengers and you can spot them near the roadside. Opossums are attracted to cans and containers and they are ready to do anything to raid trash at people’s properties.

As opportunistic scavengers, these animals will feast on everything they find eatable. This means that opossums are omnivorous animals. Their diet includes small rodents, frogs, insects, berries, small birds, and seeds.

Road killing and meat are also a part of an opossum’s diet. The diet of these animals changes with seasons. For example, opossums consume insects during the summer, but in winter they eat small rodents.


Opossum lifestyle is interesting. Everyone should witness to how these animals live and be amazed. Opossums live as nomads and they stay for a short period in areas where they have access to water and food.

They don’t dig ground and make homes, but they live in burrows that are ready-made. When they are threatened, opossums will act dead or they will release an awful smell.

Go back to the Noises in the Attic home page.

About Opossum: Appearance, biology, life cycle, habitat, diet, behavior