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Some believe that possums and opossums are both the same animal. This is quite incorrect, however.

The "possum" of North America is just a shorter name for an opossum, but true possums are different from opossums, and not related at all, except by virtue of both animals being marsupials.

  • Possums belong to the order Diprotodontia and the suborder Phalangeriformes, while opossums belong to the order Didelphimorphia and the family Didelphidae.
  • Opossums are found only in North America, although there is a "water possum", also known as the yapok, which is found in central and South America.
  • True possums are found in New Guinea, Australia (including Tasmania), Sulawesi (Indonesia) and a few other small islands in the Pacific region. Although not native to New Zealand, the brush-tailed possum was introduced into that country over a century ago and has subsequently become a pest.
  • The North American Opossum has a bare tail. All varieties of Australian possums have furry tails.
  • There are many varieties of possums in Australia (and New Guinea), including Gliders and the Cuscus. There are more limited species of the opossum.
  • Captain Cook's botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, named the Australian animal "Possum", referring to it as "an animal of the Opossum tribe" because he believed there was a physical resemblance.
  • Opossums were named by Captain John Smith in 1612. He took the name from an Algonquian (North American Indian) word.
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โˆ™ 2015-06-14 08:44:37
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Q: What is the difference between a possum and an opossum?
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Related questions

How do you say possum in French?

Opossum


What is the plural of possum and opossum?

The plural of opossum is opossums and the plural of possum is possums.The plural forms are neither opossi nor possi.


Who would win Virginia opossum vs Australian possum?

the australia possum


What is the name of a male opossum?

Mr. Possum


What animal looks like a possum?

an opossum!


Does possum start with an O or a P?

Possum starts with a 'P'. It is a quite different animal to an opossum, as the possum is native to Australia, New Guinea and parts of Indonesia, whilst the opossum is native to North America.


What will kill the possum?

What you do to kill a opossum is use poison


What is the difference between a possum and rat?

The possum is a marsupial which is native to Australia (different to the opossum). Therefore, it has a pouch in which the young develop after their birth.Rats are placental mammals and there are very few species native to Australia. They are members of the rodent family, and therefore have teeth which grow continuously.


Is there a male possum?

Whether referring to an opossum or a true possum the answer is yes. Both sexes exist for the species.


How many wings does a possum have?

An opossum does not have wings, and neither does a possum. The only truly flying mammal is a bat.


Is an opossum cold blooded?

No, a possum is a mammal and is warm blooded.


What is the difference between a mouse or rat and a possum?

The possum is a marsupial which is native to Australia (different to the opossum). Therefore, it has a pouch in which the young develop after their birth.Rats and mice are placental mammals and there are very few species native to Australia. They are members of the rodentfamily, and therefore have teeth which grow continuously.

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