Tree Climbing. Behavioral Adaptation - an instinct that helps the organism to survive in its habitat. Virginia opossums are omnivores. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. Didelphis virginiana. Opossums have existed since the Pliocene Epoch, two to five million years ago. Sometimes they will “play possum ” and roll over, become stiff, and their breathing will become slow and shallow. The opossum uses many behavioral adaptations to survive. Change their habitat, they adjust to a new one. Opossums have a tendency to switch nests often because of predation. Virginia opossums are more adapted to tropical environments, so it is not surprising that they are ill-equipped for extreme cold. Browse: Home / 2018 / February / Good Natured: Adaptations Make Virginia Opossum Freaky Cool. The opossum (left) can use its tail to wrap around larger structures to aid in climbing. The opossum has been around for at least 70 million years and is one of Earth's oldest surviving mammals! Virginia Opossum Activity Sheet Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana Video: Amazing Adaptations featuring the Virginia Opossum (YouTube) Description: Join CNC for an outdoor adventure to see an opossum habitat at and learn all about North America's only native marsupial. They will nest in a safe place and try to build their nest in a warm area. The Virginia opossum is a small mammal about the size of a house cat with a long, pointed nose, black hairless ears, dark eyes and a nearly hairless tail adapted to grasping objects (called “prehensile”). Most opossums are around the size of a housecat. Opossums Are Incredibly Agile. Description of the Opossum. How? It has a prehensile tail. A marsupial is an animal with a pouch. Virginia Opossums have 50 teeth – more than any other North American mammal. Opossums are cat-sized mammals with a pointed snout, grayish fur, small ears, and a long, scaly tail. The lifespan is two years, and so they have to protect themselves from predators that are also hungry in … Females communicate with their young by producing various sounds from lip smacking to bird-like noises, while a series of ‘clicks’ is used by mothers as well as individuals communicating with a mate. Why do animals have adaptations? Virginia opossums have a long head and pointed snout, rounded naked ears, and a scaly, nearly hairless, prehensile tail that is about half of their total length. Individual adult tracks generally measure 1.9 in long by 2.0 in wide (4.8 × 5.1 cm) for the fore prints and 2.5 in long by 2.3 in wide (6.4 × 5.7 cm) for the hind prints. (Length: 12 minutes) "Plant Adaptations": Explore the amazing world of plant adaptations with this video along the Roaring Brook Nature Center trails. They originally were found only in southeastern U.S., but in recent years their range has expanded west and north all the way into northern Minnesota. Some predators will think the … They’ve endured the passage of time astonishingly well, and largely unchanged. They are pretty immune to snake venom. The region of the tail nearest the body is usually pigmented and covered by fur. If you’ve ever watched an opossum at play, it might have struck you … This New World species is correctly called an “opossum” as opposed to the Old World “possum”. Then there are close up "meet and greets" with a Virginia opossum, blue-tongued skink and Brazilian rainbow boa to discuss the adaptations they possess. Learn everything you need to know about opossum facts, behavior and habitat. The opossum is adept at climbing, running and swimming at a relatively slow and deliberate pace. It has a triangular head and a long, pointed nose. The Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial. Scientists studying ticks and opossums found that opossums groomed off and ate over 90% of the ticks on their bodies. It has 50 teeth and a prehensile tail which serves to balance the animal while moving into the trees. The opossum has some unique adaptations that help it survive. Geese fly in a V format to help reduce drag. A prehensile tail is adapted for grasping and w… The Virginia Opossum plays dead to detract the attention of a predator. The Virginia opossum occupies much of the North America and Central America including southern Ontario, Costa Rica, and Rockies. The Frilled Lizard puffs out skin flaps to look larger and more fierce. kanecountyconnects / February 16, 2018 / Leave a comment / Animal Care and Control, Environment, Government, Kane County Forest Preserve District, Nature, Parks and Recreation. Opossums are excellent tree climbers and spend much of their time aloft. With climate change causing warmer-than-average winters, though, new regions are becoming increasingly hospitable to the opossum. Virginia opossums use both vocal and scent signals to communicate with each other. The Virginia opossum is the most commonly known opossum. Read on to learn about the opossum. Survival Adaptations. Prehensile Tail. Possums can maintain this behavior for up to four hours. When the Virginia opossum feels threatened it will exhibit behaviors like running or growling. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial native to North America. The Virginia opossum is a bit of anomaly. Good Natured: Adaptations Make Virginia Opossum Freaky Cool. The predator avoidance adaptations of opossums don't stop there. Opossums are related to kangaroos and other marsupials found in Australia. Virginia opossum. 2019). Denied their usual food sources, they change their diet. But in these northern reaches of the Americas, only a single marsupial can be found. Its closest relatives are other New World opossums, which are all marsupials, which are quite numerous in the tropical reaches of this continent. North America’s only marsupial, the Virginia opossum is a scavenger — and that makes it right at home in dense urban environments, … Q. During the very cold seasons, Virginia opossums modify their behavior to stay warm and may use the shelter offered by human structures, although opossums found in northern regions frequently have frost bite. 10. Opossums were named by Captain John Smith in 1612 after an Algonquian word that means “white animal”. In addition, biofluorescence of the pelage of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) was observed in museum specimens and living animals (Meisner 1983; Pine et al. 1985). The Virginia opossum is about the size of a large house cat. Host Ed Clark highlights a wide variety of special opossum adaptations and explains how simple changes in human behavior can help these animals. Scientists aren’t sure, but think it’s because they’re masters of adaptation. Their fore and hind feet have five toes, all with sharp claws except for the clawless, thumblike, opposable innermost toe on the hind feet. The opossum’s population is on an increasing trend particularly in the northwestern range. Sometimes it will roll over, become stiff, drool, and change its breathing to a slow and shallow pace. It can use its tail to hang from tree branches, and it has paws with opposable "thumbs." These marsupials have an elongated snout, and a large sagittal crest – a bone making their forehead look taller. Males are usually larger and heavier than females. When threatened, opossums will exhibit behaviors like running, growling, belching, urinating and even defecating. (Snow cover across Canada has been declining since the 1970s, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.). There are about 100 species of opossum in South America. This new observation of biofluorescence in the platypus under UV light strengthens the hypothesis that the trait is adaptive in low-light environments (Kohler et al. They are thought to eat insects, snakes, small animals, fruits, mice, earthworms, snails, grains, and carrion. Scientists have found a peptide in the blood of Virginia opossum tracks generally show five finger-like toes in both the fore and hind prints. They have scaly feet, and a scaly prehensile tail. The hind tracks are unusual and distinctive due to the opossum's opposable thumb, which generally prints at an angle of 90° or greater to the other fingers (sometimes near 180°). 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