General Facts » Opossums Are Smart Critters . Fun possum facts. They keep urban areas free from ticks and other pests, which keeps communities cleaner and healthier. It is most common in northern South America, with documented occurrences in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela (rare), Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The Yapok also known as the Water Opossum is an interesting Marsupial that is known for being unlike any other animal on the planet. Possums are also native to Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi, and are also found as an introduced species in New Zealand and China. It has short, dense fur, which is water-repellent. Water Opossums measure 27 – 40 centimetres (10.5 – 16 inches) in length and weigh between 600 – 800 grams (1.25 – 1.75 pounds). There are sensory facial bristles in tufts above each eye, as well as whiskers. Omissions? They sleep during the day in a den in a hollow tree or in an abandoned rodent burrow. The most common species are the common brushtail possum and the common ringtail possum. One of the shortest lived mammals for its size, typically 2 to 4 years. They are also commonly found close to a water source, such as a stream or lake. A light band runs across the forehead anterior to the ears, which are rounded and naked. Water Opossums live in southern Mexico and South America. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Adaptable; able to live wherever water, food, and shelter exist. 4 Facts About The Water Opossum. The chilly weather usually leads to frostbite on its hairless tail, paws, or ears. Virginia opossums’ pelts may also be sold commercially. Fernandez, Fernando Antonio dos Santos, et al. As the name 'water opossum' implies, they prefer to live in wet areas. Water opossum, ( Chironectes minimus ), also called yapok or yapock, a semiaquatic, web-footed marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found along tropical rivers, streams, and lakes from Mexico to Argentina. They Gravitate Toward Water . The largest species of possum is the cuscus. It is also the only living marsupial in which both sexes have a pouch. The hair covering of a Water Opossum is quite unusual, the fur is a combination of black and gray. General Facts » Check out our water opossum selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces from our shops. From opposable toes to an ability to feign death in an instant, discover the most fascinating facts about the opossum. Here are some amazing facts about this creature that might change you from an opossum hater to an opossum fan. Water opossums are solitary animals, with little conspecific interaction. The entire ventral surface is silvery white. While opossums prefer deciduous woodlands with nearby sources of water – like streams or swamps – they are extremely adaptable and succeed in a variety of habitats and climates. [3] Opossums have a diverse palate when it comes to food; they'll eat everything from insects to snakes to … They dig steep tunnels that end in a n… Yapoks can be found throughout Central and South America, from Mexico all the way down to Argentina. A Water Opossum's ears are round, and on top of the eyes are bristles. The water opossum, found on the fringes of the South American rainforest and wetlands, is the most aquatic marsupial in the world. They have scaly feet, and a scaly prehensile tail. They are considered as one of the major marsupials that are found in the Western Hemisphere. The thylacine, commonly referred to as the Tasmanian tiger, also exhibited this trait, but it is now believed to be extinct. The pouch of the Water Opossum can close tight for when it goes underwater. Water Opossums is the only aquatic marsupial. Remove all sources of food and water before dusk settles in, and keep pet food away from pet doors or other openings to the house. This order consists of more than 103 that are further classified into 19 genera. They are symmetrical as well, which distributes force equally along both borders of the webbing; this increases the efficiency of the water opossum's movement through the water. The water opossum is a medium sized opossum that lives in Mexico south through to South America and Argentina. Corrections? The opossum has webbed hind feet that help propel it in the water and also long tail that directs its movements in the water. It is the only marsupial that depends almost entirely on aquatic prey, such as fish, molluscs, and frogs. The hindfeet of the water opossum are webbed, while the forefeet ("hands") are not. It has webbed rear feet, and waterproof fur. Water Opossums measure 27 – 40 centimetres (10.5 – 16 inches) in length and weigh between 600 – 800 grams (1.25 – 1.75 pounds). Opossums are mostly docile and harmless creatures that are rarely dangerous. The forefeet can be used to feel for and grab prey as the animal swims, propelled by its tail and webbed back feet. Opossums are, however, highly adaptable. Geographic Range. Don’t confuse an American opossum with an Australian possum – they’re quite different! Learn fast facts about Water Opossums in food plan, habitat, prey, replica, and so forth. TAXONOMY. Water Opossum facts and knowledge. Opossums are a family of over 100 species of marsupials that are native to a variety of habitats in North and South America, and they typically live not far from a water source and often dwell in trees. This behavior … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The water opossum, found on the fringes of the South American rainforest and wetlands, is the most aquatic marsupial in the world. Water Opossums are carnivorous, easting fish and other small aquatic animals. The local name for the water opossum, "yapok", probably comes from the name of the Oyapok River in French Guiana. Water Opossum facts and knowledge. Virginia opossum, the only marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found north of Mexico. The colour of the back is silvery gray overlaid by dark brown to black markings on the shoulders, back, hips, and rump, interconnected by a narrow black stripe running from the back of the head to the tail. Possums are also native to Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi, and are also found as an introduced species in New Zealand and China. Believe it or not, this opossum is very well adapted to the water. They prefer warm climates, which you can tell from their distribution (Mexico to Argentina is a generally warm portion of the world). Opossums Are Smart Critters . This creature is found in the freshwater streams and lakes in Mexico, Central and South America to Argentina. A female opossum gives birth to helpless young as tiny as honeybees. Likewise eating cooked Virginia opossum meat is believed to prevent heart attacks, using an ointment composed of opossum fat is believed to treat epilepsy and infusing opossum bones in water is believe to treat allergies, dermatitis and coughing. It is not impossible to find Water Opossums at high-altitude areas. Virginia opossums’ pelts may also be sold commercially. Adults average 70 cm (28 inches) in total length and weigh up to 790 grams (1.7 pounds). The Water Opossum (Chironectes minimus) or Yapok can be found in many parts of the globe, just to mention some: South Mexico, Colombia, Guianas, Venezuale, parts of Brazil and Peru. Weiler Woods for Wildlife Being a marsupial and at the same time an aquatic animal, the water opossum has evolved a way to protect its young while swimming. The largest species of possum is the cuscus. It is suggested that the local name for the Water opossum, "yapok", comes from the name of the Oyapok River in French Guiana. Interesting Opossum Facts! The Yapok also known as the Water Opossum is an interesting Marsupial that is known for being unlike any other animal on the planet. They keep urban areas free from ticks and other pests, which keeps communities cleaner and healthier. Water Opossums are carnivorous, easting fish and other small aquatic animals. At home in trees; uses its prehensile tail to help stabilize position when climbing— it does not, however, hang by its tail. Water Opossum Description. Curator, New World Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wildlife Biologist, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, United States Geological Survey, Laurel,... Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Chironectes minimus (water opossum or yapok) is native to tropical and subtropical habitats from southern Mexico to Central and South America. The water opossum or yapok (Chironectes minimus) is particularly unusual, as it is the only living semi-aquatic marsupial, using its webbed hindlimbs to dive in search of freshwater mollusks and crayfish. The Water Opossum (Chironectes minimus) or ‘Yapok’ is found in the tropical forests of South America. >> When opossums are attacked, they will “play possum,” pretending that they are dead; they remain still, they […] It has a head and body length of 30 cm (12 inches) and a 38-cm (15-inch) naked tail. Opossums are incredibly diverse mammals that thrive in a wide range of habitats. https://www.britannica.com/animal/water-opossum. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus), also locally known as the yapok (/ˈjæpɒk/), is a marsupial of the family Didelphidae. The pouch of the Water Opossum can close tight for when it goes underwater. Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana 7 Interesting Facts About Virginia Opossums >> Virginia opossums are nocturnal (most active at night). At 48 days of age, the young opossums detach from the nipples, but they still nurse and sleep with the mother. Of the 100+ opossum species in the world, the most common and recognizable in the United States is the Virginia opossum. Possums are a suborder of 70 tree-living marsupial species native to Australia and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea and Sulawesi. It is the only living member of its genus, Chironectes. The species that many people think of when hearing about this animal is the common opossum, also known as Virginia opossum. Learn fast facts about Water Opossums in food plan, habitat, prey, replica, and so forth. Because it lives near rivers, stream and lakes the mammal’s diet is primarily made up for aquatic plants and … The opossum is a marsupial that can be found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America.Opossums are very adaptable animals, since they can be found in different habitats and can eat different kinds of food. The face and ears are blackish brown, except for the silvery white cheek and spot above each eye. … 1. Morphology of the male genital system of Chironectes minimus and comparison to other didelphid marsupials. [3] This semiaquatic creature is found in and near freshwater streams and lakes from Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina and is the most aquatic living marsupial (the lutrine opossum also has semiaquatic habits). Yapok is another name for the water opossum. Water opossums eat fish, crabs, frogs, freshwater shrimp, and other small animals found in and along watercourses. The opossum is only limited in its range due to cold or lack of water and are very adaptable animals. Their hind feet are webbed and both male and female have pouches. There are more than 60 species of opossum. Fun Facts for Kids. Normal litters range from seven to 21 offspring, but as many as 50 dime-sized babies may be born in a single litter. Opossum Facts. At home in trees; uses its prehensile tail to help stabilize position when climbing— it does not, however, hang by its tail. An opossum faces dire conditions during colder months. They build their nests along the banks of freshwater rivers and lakes, and they typically live in or near tropical and sub-tropical forests. A prehensile tail can be wrapped around branches to … https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Water_opossum&oldid=992625736, Taxa named by Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 December 2020, at 07:48. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada. If caught on the ground and not able to escape, a Virginia opossum may become catatonic, appearing to be unconscious or dead. They Gravitate Toward Water . This semiaquatic creature is found in and near freshwater streams and lakes from Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina and is the most aquatic living marsupial (the lutrine opossum also has semiaquatic habits). Opossum Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet Whether you have an interest in learning more about the wildlife around your home or want to better understand them as a way to keep them off your property, finding out more about opossums can be a very interesting endeavor. Water opossums are nocturnal and semi-aquatic and use tactile, auditory and olfactory senses for foraging and reproduction. Babies immediately crawl into the mother's pouch, where they continue to develop. >> When opossums are attacked, they will “play possum,” pretending that they are dead; they remain still, they […] 4 Facts About The Water Opossum. Opossum Facts. Water Opossums is the only aquatic marsupial. in our animals facts archive. Also known as the "yapok", it is the only marsupial that likes to swim. Also known as the lapok, the water opossum (Chironectes minimus) lives as a semi-aquatic marsupial. Its fur has black spot and stripes on gray or light brown. Adults average 70 cm (28 inches) in total length and weigh up … Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Infraclass: Marsupialia Superorder: Ameridelphia Order: Didelphimorphia Family: Didelphidae The Virginia opossum, the most common member, is termed as Didelphis virginiana. However, opossums are world-class tree climbers, with sharp claws, opposable thumbs on their hind feet, and a prehensile tail that helps them scale trunks and hang onto branches. While opossums may seem like vermin, they actually make great neighbors. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus), also locally known as the yapok (/ˈjæpɒk/), is a marsupial of the family Didelphidae. The most common species are the common brushtail possum and the common ringtail possum. The water opossum seems to have a history dating as far back as to the Pliocene Epoch. While opossums may seem like vermin, they actually make great neighbors. Fun possum facts. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS. One of the shortest lived mammals for its size, typically 2 to 4 years. TAXONOMY. Likewise eating cooked Virginia opossum meat is believed to prevent heart attacks, using an ointment composed of opossum fat is believed to treat epilepsy and infusing opossum bones in water is believe to treat allergies, dermatitis and coughing. Water Opossums live in southern Mexico and South America. The opossum is a successful scavenger, thanks to its adaptability and excellent immune system. Killed by many predators: humans (and cars), dogs, cats, owls, and larger wildlife. Opossum - Water Opossum Facts & Trivia for kids The Water Opossum is also called a yapok. The opossum has a relatively short life span of around 2 years (or 4 years in captivity). PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS. The thylacine, commonly referred to as … The broad hindfeet are webbed and are used for propulsion through water, moving with alternate strokes. [8] Length 10.6–15.7 in (27–40 cm); weight 21.2–28 oz (600–790g). They sleep during the day in a den in a hollow tree or in an abandoned rodent burrow. These marsupials have an elongated snout, and a large sagittal crest – a bone making their forehead look taller. From opposable toes to an ability to feign death in an instant, discover the most fascinating facts about the opossum. [5] This is thought to prevent them from becoming tangled in aquatic vegetation and is probably helpful in streamlining the animal as well. For example, they have webbed feet, waterproof fur and that useful little carrying pouch will actually become watertight while submerged. ", Natural history of the water opossum Chironectes minimus: a review. Opossums are known for eating ticks that spread Lyme disease which helps with the spread of the disease. Adaptable; able to live wherever water, food, and shelter exist. Find out why at Wild Facts. Their sensitive ears and whiskers are important in detecting prey in the dark and in the water. Opossums Are Incredibly Agile If you’ve ever watched an opossum at play, it might have struck you as a somewhat clumsy little critter. Eating up to 5,000 ticks a year in your backyard, you may want to attract them to your garden. Diet. Below, explore facts about the Virginia opossum including its habits and how to identify damage. Possums are often attracted to chicken feed and they can kill your chickens if they go into a coop, so feed your chickens midday if possible. In this lesson, you will learn about the yapok's behavior and habitat and we will look at some facts about these interesting creatures. It is also the only living marsupial in which both sexes have a pouch. If left unharmed, a catatonic opossum will recover in roughly one to four hours. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Water opossums mate in December and a litter of 1-5 young is born 12 to 14 days later in the nest. The water opossum's tail, furred and black at the base, is yellow or white at its end. Holocene subfossil fragments of Chironectes have been discovered in São Paulo, Brazil. [4] The male also has a pouch (although not as watertight as the female's), where he places his genitalia before swimming. Latra minima (Zimmerman, 1780), Cayenne, French Guiana. Opossums originated in South America and are believed to have entered North America during the Great American Interchange, which is when the continents connected and is believed to have occurred approximately 2.7 million years ago. Water opossum, (Chironectes minimus), also called yapok or yapock, a semiaquatic, web-footed marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found along tropical rivers, streams, and lakes from Mexico to Argentina. The water opossum is the most aquatic marsupial. The tail slightly prehensile (grasping) and mostly hairless. A strong ring of muscle makes the pouch (which opens to the rear) watertight, so the young remain dry, even when the mother is totally immersed in water. Also, there are fossil specimens from the late Pleistocene-Recent cave deposits in Minas Gerais, Brazil, as well as from the late Pliocene in Entre Ríos Province, Argentina. [2] It is the only living member of its genus, Chironectes. The fur is short and dense with a few intermixed longer hairs. They have become quite adept at surviving in urban areas. Latra minima (Zimmerman, 1780), Cayenne, French Guiana. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus), also locally known as the yapok, an aquatic marsupial are member of the opossum family with black and grey waterproof fur, webbed hind feet and a backward-pointing pouch in both sexes. Water Opossums have waterproof coats which have a grey and black pattern. Discovery First off, it helps to know how the opossum was d iscovered. The tail is a little longer than the head and body, densely furred at the base and scaly, nearly naked, and dark brown or black for most of its length except at the tip, which is yellowish white. Killed by many predators: humans (and cars), dogs, cats, owls, and larger wildlife. Learn fast facts about Water Opossums in food plan, habitat, prey, replica, and so forth. Opossum Facts: 1. The Water Opossum is hostile during feeding, even been seen sitting on its forelegs, aggressively tearing into food. Furred and black pattern found as an introduced species in New Zealand and China latra minima ( Zimmerman 1780. The world n… it is because of their biolo… opossum - water opossum seems to have a cloaca [. Is native to Australia and the common ringtail possum hearing about this is. Ringtail possum as the animal swims, propelled by its tail and webbed back feet or. Trivia for kids the water opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial ( pouched mammal ) the or... 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