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Virginia Opossum: here’s the scoop


Although opossums were once important in the fur trade, this activity has had little impact on the species’ population. Their biggest threats nowadays are from vehicle strikes and domestic dogs.

Committed to Conservation

Our opossums, Rhett and Scarlett, are important members of the Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program. You may see them out with educators for encounters, special events or school programs. The animal ambassadors at Buttonwood Park Zoo are working ambassadors of their species and of their wild counterparts.  They stimulate interest and appreciation, dispel myths and fears, reconnect visitors with the natural world and stir all those they encounter to action.


Virginia Opossum

Scientific name

Didelphis virginiana


Found in a variety of habitats, ranging from woodlands and thickets near streams and swamps to suburban areas


Omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. They can consume a variety of plants, fruits, insects, small animals, carrion and garbage

life expectancy

2 – 4 years

Did you know?

The opossum is North America’s only marsupial! They have more teeth than any other North American land mammal, have a low body temperature which makes it very rare for one to carry rabies, and can consume thousands of ticks each year helping to reduce the spread of Lyme’s disease.


Central America, from Costa Rica to Mexico and in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and north into southwestern Ontario, Canada

Conservation status

Least Concern

Widespread and abundant