Sunday 19 September 2059 82842 Shares
The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage.
When threatened or harmed, these animals will "play possum", mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. The lips are drawn back, teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands. Although the word “play” suggests a conscious act, this defense mechanism is actually a completely involuntary and automatic physiological response to danger.
Many injured opossums have been killed by well-meaning people who find a catatonic animal and assume the worst. The best thing to do upon finding an injured or apparently dead opossum is to leave it in a quiet place with a clear exit path. In minutes or hours, the opossum will regain consciousness and escape quietly on its own.