Most living creatures have a fingerprint. They will leave a mark on the soil or mud or any soft surfaces when traveling from place to place. How about opossums? What kind of marks that can be a sign of opossum tracks?
Let us find out what is opossum first. Like any other marsupial animals such as kangaroos and sugar gliders, opossums have a pouch on their bodies. Opossums are also the only marsupials found in North America.
They have a pointed nose with a no-fur tail. Opossum tracks are conspicuous on the ground, sand, or mud. They walk with their four legs, and they have five toes for each foot with overlapping tracks. They have opposable thumbs that ease them when climbing trees.
The Prehensile Tail
The tail is not just for a show. The naked tail can reserve fat, which is very useful when they are facing a lean time when there is only a small amount of food available. Another use of the tail is to assist them when climbing as it can firmly grasp a branch of trees.
There is a myth about opossum’s tail that, some of the parts are not true. Opossums do not sleep upside down while hanging on a branch with their tail like you might have seen or depicted in a Disney’s animated movie.
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Their prehensile tail does help them grasp or clamber branches or bushes, but it can only support or hold an adult possum’s weight in an upside-down position in a matter of seconds. However, a young opossum may hang on trees by its tail a bit longer than the adults may as it weighs lighter.
Again, In general, possums do not sleep upside down even the young ones. What makes opossums special is that they are the only non-primates with unique, opposable thumbs, which is identical to human thumbs.
The best time to find an opossum track is in the early morning because it can wear through time or are damaged by people as they pass by the place. You will find a track that shows five toes on the front and on the rear along with the opposable thumb, which has no claw.
You could be mistaken for a raccoon track though as they look similar, but there’s a hint to distinguish them. Raccoons have longer toes or claws compared to opossums’. The opposable thumbs and their walking patterns of opossums are the keys.
Habitat and Diet
Opossums are typically found in many areas such as cities or wilderness. They are opportunist mammals that feed on plenty of food sources such as rodents, insects, worms and so on. Besides, they also eat vegetables, berries, and even pet food dishes.
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Possum Defense Mechanism
To defense itself from any threat, a possum will use its trick to drive away from its enemies by playing dead. An opossum will appear to be stiff and not moving, known as playing possum while releasing some special substance with an unpleasant smell.
They would also climb trees to escape and make a noise by hissing and showing their sharp teeth. An opossum can stay in a comatose-like condition for a few minutes or even a few hours long when threatened.
Trackers would get so excited when finding opossums tracks in a good condition, as they don’t last long, especially in a riparian area. It is as if they have found a treasure.