There are several dozen different species of opossum, which are often called possums in North America. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada.
These animals are most famous for “playing possum.” When threatened by dogs, foxes, or bobcats, opossums sometimes flop onto their sides and lie on the ground with their eyes closed or staring fixedly into space. They extend their tongues and generally appear to be dead. This ploy may put a predator off its guard and allow the opossum an opportunity to make its escape.
Common Name: Opossums
Scientific Name: Didelphidae
Group Name: Passel
Size: Length from nose to tail, 2.5 ft
Weight: 8.8 to 13.2 lbs
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