Jeb’s Critter Spotlight
The Opossum — A face only a mother could love . . .
By Jeb Lapeyrolerie - Camp Kubena Executive Director
We have such a variety of different critters here at camp, and I’d like to help us all learn a little bit more about some of them - especially ones that have a bad reputation that maybe they don’t deserve.
Let’s talk about the opossum today. (Most people simply refer to them as a possum.) The opossum is the only marsupial in the United States. A marsupial is an order of mammals that give birth to partially developed babies who then crawl into a pouch, usually on the mother’s belly, to suckle and finish developing. A momma opossum can give birth to up to 20 babies at a time. Once the babies develop enough to leave the pouch you can often see them hitching a ride on their mom’s back. The babies that reach adulthood have a life span of only about two years in the wild. Part of the reason for this is due to their many predators like coyotes, dogs, and bobcats. (FYI a female opossum is a jill, a male is a jack, the babies are joeys, and a group of opossums is a passel.)