Field Notes: ‘Possum

The Virginia Opossum, Didelphis virginiana, in Prospect Park. Doesn’t look a thing like Pogo. I know they have been seen in the Park, surrounding neighborhoods, and even further afield in the borough, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one with my own two eyes. I was surprised by the size: up there with a big fat domesticated cat (no names need be mentioned). I have a vague memory of seeing some of the tiny babies when I was six or seven.

This species is the only marsupial in the US/Canada. The name “opossum” comes from the Algonquin. The URL comes from the National Opossum Society. There’s also an Opossum Society of the US.

The animals are usually nocturnal: this was taken early on an overcast morning. You can’t see it in this picture, but they have thumbs on their back feet. All the better for playing solitaire on their phones (hey, I didn’t say they were smarter than us.)

3 Responses to “Field Notes: ‘Possum”

  1. 1 Xris (Flatbush Gardener) May 7, 2010 at 9:24 am

    We get opposums in Flatbush, south of Prospect Park. They are frequent visitors, but not commonly seen, due to their nocturnal habits.

    Any opposum, or raccoon, seen during the day should be assumed to be rabid and reported to 311. Your sighting might just be a sleepy opposum; because it was overcast and morning, it might still have been up from a late night!

    • 2 mthew May 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      Judging from the Midwood’s night-time reputation, I think the possum was just shagged. Has there been any report of rabies in Kings Co.? Manhattan I know has been rife with it.

  1. 1 Didelphis virginiana | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on February 3, 2020 at 7:01 am

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