It’s a one of a kind Wild Thing Wednesday with the Virginia Opossum, or “possum”, the only marsupial living wild in Wisconsin. Young Opossums are born very small and mostly undeveloped, and spend several weeks being carried by their mother in a special pouch before they are ready to begin to learn to fend for themselves. The white face and nearly hairless tail of the opossum are almost impossible to miss but finding one in the daylight can be tricky as the opossum is primarily nocturnal.
If you are lucky enough to see one, be forewarned that they put on display when they feel threatened. In addition to the famous death feign or “playing possum” opossums will screech, salivate, hiss, and bare all fifty of their teeth at a person or predator who gets too close for comfort. That hairless tail may seem like a bad fit for a Wisconsin winter, but it does offer the opossum a bit of help, as it is prehensile and invaluable for climbing.
The opossum is both an omnivore and a scavenger and are not picky about what they eat. In warmer months, the opossum will consume large numbers of ticks, and will readily feed on roadkill year-round. Unfortunately, this diet is often very hazardous for foraging opossums, as many are struck and killed be vehicles while foraging along roadsides. Remember to drive safely for Wisconsin’s natural highway cleanup crew!