Friday, April 4, 2008

Backyard Visitor

We have been having a visitor to our discarded table scraps fairly frequently this winter and spring. The Virginia opossum(Didelphis virginiana) is unlike any other North American mammal. For starters it is a marsupial; meaning that the female carries the young in a pouch on her stomach. Other unique features of the opossum are, it has more teeth than any other land mammal in North America, it has a prehensile tail, the females have two vaginas, and the males have a bifurcated penis. Amazing little creatures.

Opossums are typically nocturnal; however we see them around our place during the day fairly regularly. My theory is that with limited diurnal predators (I never see or hear any signs of coyotes here) the Opossums come out during the day to avoid our many nocturnal avian predators. If anyone else has any other theories I would love to hear them.

I would like to thank my wife and daughter for taking the picture. They informed me that she is named Ms. Kinky Tail (she has a kink in her tail).

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