An opossum is a marsupial that is usually the size of a house cat. It is covered with gray fur, but it may also have white, black or brown hair. Another characteristic is its long, hairless tail, which the opossum uses for grasping items, such as for example leaves that it uses for building its den. The opossum’s ears are long and hairless and it has a pink nose and flat snout. The opossum is a mammal with the most teeth of all mammals – having 50 teeth. On the rear limbs, the opossum has opposable, clawless thumbs.
Opossums tend to move around quite often and it only makes temporary dwellings under fallen trees, in abandoned cars, or in a nest or burrow left by another animal. Around a human home, the opossum uses the underside of decks, porches, stairs or crawl spaces for its temporary dwelling. Generally, the opossum lives near wooded areas, mostly if these areas are also near water. It does not build its own shelter, but rather uses abandoned dens or nests left by other animals, such as for example foxes or skunks. However, when the opossum finds a shelter, it carries its own nesting material to it. The opossum is a nocturnal mammal, which means it goes to find food during night time, and it rests during daylight hours. This is why it prefers to find a shelter that is dark and hidden, such as cavities in hollow trees, crawl spaces under houses, attics or other abandoned burrows that provide dark. Usually, the opossum only occupies the den for several weeks, and then it moves to another one. It is also possible for an opossum to have multiple dens at the same time, which it uses periodically. The only exception from this are female opossums with young babies, as they tend to use the same den site for several weeks at a time, without moving to another den for a while.
Nest of Babies under a Shed or Porch
Although the opossum changes its shelter quite often, during the mating and nesting season, nesting behavior is different for females. During this period, females are attracted to warm and dry areas, which are dark and also easily defended. Such places are usually in or under a building, such as a shed or porch. When the female finds such a place for its nest, it usually remains there for longer periods, as long as this setting remains favorable for its stay. Finding such a favorable location for its nest offers the opossum a great location for reproduction and it will usually live in this nest until the babies are old enough.
Find out what to do if you Found a Nest of Baby Opossums.
Learn what to do if you find an Orphaned Baby Opossum
Although the opossum tends to change its den after only a few nights spent there, it uses the same nest for longer periods during the mating and nesting season. So, it is very possible that when an opossum finds a shed or porch, it has a nest of babies there.
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