Critter of the Month: Opossum

January 2016

• Species: Opossum.

• Scientific name: Didelphis marsupialis.

• Nicknames: ’Possum.

An Opossum keeps an eye for danger.
An Opossum keeps an eye for danger.

• Claim to fame: To most Ozarkers, opossums are known for their less-than appealing sneer, a lumbering gait and a frequency for getting hit by automobiles. Opossums are classified as a game animal in Missouri and are included in the state’s furbearer season which is from Nov. 15 through Jan. 31. The fur is used chiefly to trim inexpensive cloth coats, although choice skins may be made into whole coats. Opossums have the lesser-known distinction of being one of the world’s oldest mammals. They date back more than 70 million years to the Upper Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs still walked the earth.

• Species status: Opossums are found throughout Missouri.

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