Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)

Scarlet Pearl came in as a rehab patient with her littermates, but she began to display neurological deficiencies that made her non-releasable. She is three years old and enjoys bananas and sleeping in.

Opossums like Scarlet Pearl are the only marsupials in North America. (Possums without an “o” are found in Australasia.) These scrappy mammals keep their young in a pouch on their belly as they grow, and if you’re lucky, you may catch a mama opossum bussing her many “joeys” around on her back in the springtime. Opossums are excellent climbers and use their opposable thumbs and prehensile tails to easily scoot up trees away from predators. They are omnivorous and opportunistic eaters. In fact, an opossum’s favorite snack is a tick! One opossum can eat 5,000 ticks per summer, so they make wonderful neighbors and help keep us safe from tick-borne illness.
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