Possums Vs. Opossums

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CluckyCharms, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Disclaimer: I'm not trying to be a troll, lol...I'm just clarifying what I think many people might not know.

    Possums are not indigenous to the United States; they don't live here anywhere other than zoos.

    You've also probably heard that one is the Australian version and the other is the American version of the same animal - also not true.

    Dogs are more closely related to a coyote than a possum is to an opossum.

    The two animals aren't interchangeable. The only similarity they have is that they are both marsupials (pouchkids), which is an infraclass. They are not the same suborder and they aren't even in the same order. They don't even look anything alike when comparing them.

    To make it a bit easier to understand....possums have no more relation to opossums than they do to a kangaroo or koala.

    Here is a real possum, which is actually indigenous to:

    New Zealand
    New Guinea

    They are actually quite cute and resemble overgrown pet rodents. They have short, stout noses, humongous ears (usually pink in color) and very fluffy, furry tails.



    If you're in America or almost every other country other than the ones listed above - whenever you see or use the term "possum" for the critters you get stalking your chickens and other livestock...it's not the correct animal nor the correct name. What we have in the United States and what Canada and many other countries have is the opossum. They are not cute and cuddly looking and they certainly don't resemble oversized fluffy bundles of adorableness. They're not possums, they're evil. lol!! They have much longer snouts than a possum, they have bare naked tails, their fur is not as full nor as soft as a real possum's and their ears are naturally much smaller than possums - they're nothing alike.


    [Edited to add countries of location]
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  2. flyboy129

    flyboy129 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2011
    Interesting. I knew the correct terminology (as far as I was concerned) was Opossum. I know most people used the shortened possum version of the name. I never knew of a 'possum' breed. :thumbsup
  3. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    Quote: I do take exception with "they're evil." Opossums are actually beneficial for the ecosystem. First, a benefit to mankind is that they are voracious mice eaters. Usually, when they are lurking around your coops, it is NOT for chicken but for mice. I have seen many pass chickens untouched while hunting mice. They are also scavengers removing carrion and almost anything else edible (and why they frequent roadways). Yes, I have had an occasional attack by a opossum on my birds (although not where I live now-- they seem to only hunt the mice around here and want some of my plentiful muscadines). Many will not bother to attack chickens. And I will say as I have said before, it is another animal trying to live and make it in this world. In this case, it is an unique animal, North America's only marsupial, our most ancient mammalian family, which goes back to the Cretaceous.

    Concerning the common name "possums," it is just a nickname here (a colloquialism) for our opossums -- really the "Virginia Opossom" -- and first to be given the common name of "opossum" or "possum" ahead of any Australian version. Nobody believes we have the Australian possum here so what you are talking about is merely semantics. When someone here says "possum" they are talking about our Didelphis marsupialis, which, if you want to get technical, is the formal name we've given our possum. Both "opossum" and "possum" are just common names for the same animal here, one being colloquial, that's all. Also, the Australian Possum is not a rodent but also a marsupial -- a big, big difference.
  4. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    "What I am talking about" is not semantics at all, as that deals with logic and reasoning; not fact.

    I was merely stating factual statements and providing factual photographic evidence. Additionally, the term "they're evil" was very quickly followed by an lol - which would be obvious to any normal reader that I was being funny.

    If you took the time to read what I said - nowhere did I say they were rodents. I said they resemble overgrown pet rodents, which they do. Would you like pictures of those as well?? It was I who stated very clearly they were marsupials.

    You know what? Nevermind. There's a reason there are signs in Glacier National Park that say "don't feed the bears".
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012

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