Virginia Opossum

Didelphis virginiana

Virginia opossums are nocturnal animals, usually active only at night.  They use an excellent sense of smell to find food and sensitive whiskers to find their way in the dark.  With 50 sharp teeth, an opossum can crunch through almost any kind of food—small mammals, insects, snails, even the scraps of food we throw away.

The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial species in North America.  Its relatives are kangaroos and koalas.  Marsupial moms have pouches where babies grow.  When born, opossum babies are very small, about the size of a bean.

Although they start out small, opossums grow very quickly.  In the wild, they usually live only one to two years.  In captivity, somewhere like Lindsay Wildlife where they are protected and receive excellent husbandry (clean living conditions, food, and water) and veterinary care, they can live three to four years.

Our resident opossum, Petunia, was kept as a pet from a young age.  After deciding opossums (like all wild animals) do not make the best pets, she was brought to our wildlife hospital.  Unfortunately, she is too used to getting food from people to be released to the wild.  She has lived here since 2016.

Our other Virginia opossum is Frodo. This dwarf opossum was brought to Lindsay in 2016 after he and his three siblings were found after their mother was hit by a car. While his siblings grew normally, Frodo did not, and was not afraid of humans. His siblings were released but because of his dependance on humans it was decided that he should become an animal ambassador and reside here at Lindsay.