Lutreolina crassicaudata (Little Water Opossum) is a species of mammals in the family Didelphidae. They usually breed in December. Their bodies are covered in white or grayish hair. The water opossum or yapok (Chironectes minimus) is particularly unusual, as it is the only living semi-aquatic marsupial, using its webbed hindlimbs to dive in search of freshwater mollusks and crayfish. Opossums grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat. Opossums are, however, highly adaptable. Their pre­ferred habi­tat ranges from 0 to 1,860 m above sea level. Being a marsupial and at the same time an aquatic animal, the Water opossum has evolved a way to protect its young while swimming. As nocturnal animals, opossums favor dark, secure areas which may be below ground or above. In the meantime, let’s figure out where our imagination will be taking us today. Water opossums are found from Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina. They prefer warm climates, which you can tell from their distribution (Mexico to Argentina is a generally warm portion of the world). [1] Unlike other nocturnal animals, opossums move around much more, sometimes up to … HABITAT Rivers and streams in main lowland tropical moist forest, typically from sea degree up to about 3,300 ft (1,000 m), though it has been discovered at 6,230 ft (1,900 m). They build their nests along the banks of freshwater rivers and lakes, and they typically live in or near tropical and sub-tropical forests. The Water opossum is the most aquatic living marsupial and is also the only living marsupial in which both the males and females have a pouch. Water opossums are polygynandrous (promiscuous) which means that both the males and the females have multiple partners. They will utilize just about any sheltered location for a den including hollows in trees and fallen logs, rock cavities, brush piles, and … The Best 20 Gallon Fish Tank Guide – 2020, The Best Aquarium Vacuum Buyers Guide – 2020, The Best Goldfish Food Buyers Guide – 2020, The Best Aquarium Rock Buyers Guide – 2020. Water opossum or yapok habitats Forest, Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha), Permanent Rivers / Streams / Creeks (includes waterfalls), Subtropical / Tropical Dry forest, Subtropical / Tropical Moist Lowland and Wetlands (inland) More animals beginning with W While opossums prefer deciduous woodlands with nearby sources of water – like streams or swamps – they are extremely adaptable and succeed in a variety of habitats and climates. They seem to prefer semi-aquatic or aquatic places like freshwater streams and lakes close to the shore of these tropical, subtropical habitats. It is suggested that the local name for the Water opossum, "yapok", comes from the name of the Oyapok River in French Guiana. Adults average 70 cm (28 inches) in total length and weigh up to 790 grams (1.7 pounds). They seek shelter in the dens or nests of other animals, sheds or old buildings, cavities in rocks, brush piles, trash heaps, dry culverts, hollow trees and fallen logs. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing. Water opossums are solitary creatures. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada. The danger is made even more pressing because opossums don't hibernate in winter. Affiliate Disclaimer AnimalCorner.co.uk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. According to IUCN, the Water opossum is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. By 22 days the young are beginning to show some fur, and by 40 days or so their eyes are open. Individuals are known to live for 2.9 years and can … Little Water Opossum is a nocturnal carnivore. Additionally, females have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns. Yapoks build their nests underground. As the name 'water opossum' implies, they prefer to live in wet areas. They dig steep tunnels that end in a … These are excellent swimmers and divers; their broad webbed hind feet are used for propulsion through water, moving with alternate strokes. Virginia opossums occupy a variety of habitats, ranging from deserts to wet meadows, but prefer living in woodlands and thickets near a source of water. After the gestation period of 12-14 days, the female gives birth to a litter of 1-5 young in the nest. HABITAT Rivers and streams in main lowland tropical moist forest, typically from sea degree up to about 3,300 ft (1,000 m), though it has been discovered at 6,230 ft (1,900 m). They inhabit woodland areas along streams, ponds, lakes, swamps, and marshes. This semiaquatic creature is found in and near freshwater streams and lakes from Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina and is the most aquatic living marsupial (the lutrine opossum also has semiaquatic habits). Opossums prefer areas near permanent water such as ponds, lakes, swamps, streams and rivers. It is also the only living marsupial in which both sexes have a pouch. A strong ring of muscle makes the pouch (which opens to the rear) watertight, so the young remain dry, even when the mother is totally immersed in water. The thylacine, commonly referred to a… The long tail of these animals also helps them in swimming. The forefeet can be used to feel for and grab prey as the animal swims, propelled by its tail and webbed back feet. Water opossum, (Chironectes minimus), also called yapok or yapock, a semiaquatic, web-footed marsupial (family Didelphidae, subfamily Didelphinae) found along tropical rivers, streams, and lakes from Mexico to Argentina. The Water Opossum is typically found in tropical, and subtropical habitats. Despite their reputation as being pests, possums (or opossums) are in fact useful little animals in your garden. They eat real pests such as slugs and small rodents and rarely cause problems themselves. Virginia opossums may be found in a fairly wide range of habitats; however, they typically prefer areas near a water source, such as a stream or swamp. Water opos­sums are most often found in semi-aquatic or aquatic habi­tats, par­tic­u­larly in fresh­wa­ter streams and near-shore lakes as­so­ci­ated with trop­i­cal or sub­trop­i­cal forests. While opossums prefer deciduous woodlands with nearby sources of water - like streams or swamps - they are extremely adaptable and succeed in a variety of habitats and climates. Farmland and woodlots are preferred over extensively forested areas. We will get into the rest of their cool characteristics shortly. This species was also introduced to the west coast of the U.S. and British Columbia, Canada, and is still expanding northward. The extinct Thylophorops, the largest known opossum at 4–7 kg, was a macropredator. An individual will curl up with its mouth open, tongue hanging out, and it looks dead. Buckle up as we are heading to the freshwater lakes and streams located in Central and South America. Habitat. They live in bankside burrows, emerging after dusk to swim and search for prey, which they eat on the bank. Opossums are somewhat opportunistic hunters and they have also adapted to surviving in different habitats. The newly born offspring climb to the mother's pouch, where they begin nursing. The most important elements in a possum's home range are food, water and shelter. The name “opossum” was used for the first time in western culture in 1608 by Captain John Smith. Fun Facts for Kids. Opossums have a long, pointed face with round, hairless ears and a rat-like tail. They feed on fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic animals which they catch in the water. 2. A nearby water source is an important feature when it comes to habitat. It is found in the Neotropics. Though they aren't picky about where they hang out, opossums love trees and will stay aloft in trees as much as possible. An opossum faces dire conditions during colder months. This New World species is correctly called an “opossum” as opposed to the Old World “possum”. Its fur is in a marbled grey and black pattern, while the muzzle, eyestripe, and crown are all black. The hindfeet are symmetrical as well, which distributes force equally along both borders of the webbing; this increases the efficiency of the Water opossum's movement through the water. It is from the Algonquin word “apasum”, meaning “white animal.” When startled or frightened, opossums can pretend to be dead (or “play possum”). HABITAT: Its preferred habitat is forested areas, preferably close to water. The Water opossum is the most aquatic living marsupial and is also the only living marsupial in which both the males and females have a pouch. Diet: Opossums are omnivores. The Water opossum is a semiaquatic marsupial found in the Americas. Opossums Kill Ticks by the Thousands Opossums are voracious eaters that will try anything they find, something you know quite well if you’ve ever found one pawing through your garbage bins. The main threats to Water opossums include the loss of suitable habitat due to deforestation and pollution of freshwater ecosystems. Opossums are resistant to rabies and rarely carry the disease. The Water opossum seems to have a history dating as far back as to the Pliocene Epoch. They fancy living in woodlands, wet habitats, swamps, and thickets near streams. Opossum feces, however, sometimes carry the eggs of a parasite that may cause illness in horses if the feces contaminate food and water. Habitat: Opossums can be found in a variety of habitats. The chilly weather usually leads to frostbite on its hairless tail, paws, or ears. The Water opossum's tail furred and black at the base is yellow or white at its end. Their range of habitat is anywhere from zero to one thousand eight hundred and sixty (0-1860) m above sea level. Water Opossum Habitat The Water Opossums preferred habitats are freshwater streams and lakes. When threatened, Water opossums usually jump into the water and often this way escape predation. Possum Habitat Opossums are most likely to make habitats in mesic and arid environments. Check out our water opossum selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces from our shops. It is the only living member of its genus, Chironectes. Its hind feet are webbed, while the forefeet ("hands") are not. Opossum Facts: 1. Water Opossum on The IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_opossum, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/4671/22173467. The water opossum (Chironectes minimus), also locally known as the yapok (/ˈjæpɒk/), is a marsupial of the family Didelphidae. The common opossum and Virginia opossum are found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and Canada. Opossums also need places to build nests, such as tree openings, burrows from other animals or woodpiles. They live in and near freshwater streams, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water in tropical moist forests. These animals may live in woodlands and thickets but they are very often found within human altered areas. They are also commonly found close to a water source, such as a stream or lake. Possums are also entertaining to watch because of their agility and intelligence. AN OFFENSIVE ODOR SELLS THE PERFORMANCE. Opossums have evolved and adapted very quickly over the past century or so, coming to live in cold, northern climates like New England from warmer, sunnier places like Mexico. Opossums naturally prefer deciduous woods near water but can also be found in farmlands or marshes. A light band runs across the forehead anterior to the ears, which are rounded and naked. These Opossums make their dens in the banks of the streams and lakes with entrances just above the … Water opossums are carnivores (piscivores). Opossum Biology, Life Cycle, Habitat, Diet Whether you have an interest in learning more about the wildlife around your home or want to better understand them as a way to keep them off your property, finding out more about opossums can be a very interesting endeavor. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial native to North America. Yapoks can be found throughout Central and South America, from Mexico all the way down to Argentina. Opossum Habitat. Opossums have a very short lifespan, usually three years or less in the wild, where they have to contend with predators and cars. Opossums are active year-round but often den up when the weather is extremely cold. For starters it is an Opossum that likes water! 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