Audubon Asks:  Did You Know?

Courtesy of Skidaway Audubon 

Did you know opossums can eat 5,000 ticks in a single season? Or that they also love to eat mosquitoes, roaches, rodents, garden slugs, and snails? They are gentle,

nocturnal, omnivorous marsupials that sadly only live two-to-four years.

The only native mammal in North America with a pouch, the females are pregnant for just 13 days - yes, days! Born in mid-winter, babies are about the size of a bee and must climb into their mother’s pouch. After they grow to the size of a mouse, they will emerge and ride on their mother’s back.

The opossum is immune to snake venom and has a long skinny tail capable of grasping branches, like a monkey’s tail. It has 50 teeth, more than any other North American land mammal, but is perhaps most famous for “playing possum,” pretending to be dead in the face of danger. However, studies have shown their condition is more like an actual fainting spell or temporary paralysis -- flopped on its side, with tongue out and eyes in a fixed gaze. Opossums can remain in this state for several hours.

Their preferred habitat is wooded areas near a water source. Skidaway Audubon has launched an initiative, Nature Notices, to encourage residents to save a space for wildlife, replacing felled trees with understory trees or groupings of native greenery. When a tree is taken down, nature notices when its home and food source is destroyed. To learn more, visit



This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

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