Found this little guy today while I was out and about in my yard. I've never seen an opossum before and this little "joey" was adorable. Did you know the female opossum is called a "jill" and the male is called a "jack". So, Jack, Jill and Joey. How cute! Luke, my dog also spotted this little guy and chased it into the pond. So I had to take Luke back into the house. These marsupials are good to have around since they eat a lot of ticks which can carry lyme disease. Some research says they can eat up to 5000 ticks per season. I decided to do some more research about them and wanted to share it with you.
These opossums are called the Virginia Opossum and they are Canada's only marsupial. Just like koalas, primates and giant pandas they have an opposing thumb which is their "big toe" and makes them excellent climbers but gives them a "wobbly" gait when they walk on land. They also have 50 teeth! The most of any North American mammal. Unfortunately their mortality rate is quite high and they don't often make it past two years. Predators and car collisions are the biggest reasons for their death. If a predator does come upon them the opossum can "play dead" for up to 6 hours. It will lay in the fetal position, emit a foul odour that smells like decay, slow their heart rate and bare their teeth. Apparently other animals don't like to eat things that smell foul.
The female opossum can have 1-2 litters per year. When they are born they are blind, furless and the size of dime. It takes about 2 months before they can leave the pouch and 3 for them to be fully weaned and independent. While they are being weaned they will ride on the back of the mother "piggybacking". I was lucky to see this little guy since maybe it hadn't been given the information that they are primarily nocturnal;-) So I'm sure I won't be seeing "Joey" again anytime soon.