Journal: Opossum's range is growning

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • Updated: November 11, 2011 - 1:08 AM
hide

An opossum in the rotunda at the State Capitol.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Opossums are slow-moving, so it will seek safety up a tree, in a brush pile, or if a retreat cannot be reached, it may play "possum," that is, pretend death. They are relatively harmless to people, but do treat them with respect, as they have more teeth than any other mammal found in Minnesota.

During the last 25 years, the opossum has expanded its range to the point where folks in central and even northwestern Minnesota can now turn on a yard light and catch one eating from a dog dish or feasting on sunflower seeds from a bird feeder. Opossums are quite common in the Twin Cities area and throughout southern Minnesota. They are almost entirely nocturnal.

Adult opossums are the size of house cats, have short legs, are grayish-white in color and have long naked tails. The leaf-like ears are thin and naked. Some people may say that the opossum is not very intelligent, but it has succeeded as a species where other forms have become extinct. It has also followed the progress of civilization even into regions of severe winters, where it remains active throughout the year.

The opossum is North America's only marsupial. It has a prehensile tail, which makes it easy to climb, and the female carries the young in a pouch on her abdomen like a kangaroo.

The natural habitat for the opossum is a wooded area along a stream, near a lake, or in a swamp. It can live in a hole in a tree, a deserted den of another mammal, or a brush pile. A true opportunist among wild mammals, the opossum might use almost any shelter in which it can be dry and safe from enemies -- even under or in an old building. By the same token, it will eat almost anything organic, including carrion, spoiled fruits, fresh fruits, eggs, nuts and insects.

JIM GILBERT

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close