Opossum vs Possum

Opossum, also called as possum, form about 100 species of New World marsupial mammals in the orders Didelphimorphia, Paucituberculata (see rat opossum), and Microbiotheria (see monito del monte). These marsupials, alongside their family members in Australasia, were once in the past assembled in the order Marsupialia (presently a cohort including a few orders). The word opossum depends on the Algonquian word fit, signifying "white animal" about the Virginia opossum of North America. Some Australasian marsupials are also called possums 

Opossums versus Possums 

While both possums and opossums are marsupials, they are, in fact, and scientifically, two altogether different animals. The opossum is a warm-blooded animal belonging to the group of marsupials located in North America. Possums, then again, are marsupials of Australian origin. 

In the United States and Canada, you will as a rule use 'opossum', while in Australia, you will typically use 'possum'. Why the difference? Since you will allude two different animals (two unmistakable marsupials to be progressively exact)! The marsupial you will find in North America has the scientific name of 'Didelphidae', while the marsupial you will find in Australia has the scientific name of 'Phalangeridae'. 

The possums were given that name because of their close resemblance to the opossums of North America. The possums are called regular brushtail possums. The disarray between the two emerged after Sir Joseph Banks chose to name the Australian animal as a possum. The explanation behind the naming was because he imagined that the two seemed to be comparable. 

Differences Between Possums and Opossums 

Different Orders 

The first and the most obvious difference between the two marsupials is that they have a place in different orders. While both belong to the marsupial family, their orders are the Didelphimorphia and Diprotodontia for the opossum and possum respectively.

Physical Appearance

A North American opossum

  • Opossums are usually white and black. 
  • Their bodies are commonly grayish-white while the two feet and ears are black. 
  • Their fur is coarse. 
  • Opossums are generally smaller than possums with their lengths averaging somewhere in the range of 3 and 22 inches while their weight runs somewhere in the range of 1 and 10 pounds. 
  • The biggest of opossums are about the size of an average domestic cat. 
  • Opossums have enormous canines and little incisors. 
  • Other than the stretched snouts, they have a plantigrade stance, which means they can stroll as humans do with their heels contacting the ground. Their tails, which are uncovered like those of rats, are fit for getting little items for brief periods.

An Australian possum 

  • By difference, possums are viewed as less threatening looking. 
  • The length of possums ranges from the length of a human finger to four feet, while their weight ranges from six ounces to 32 pounds. 
  • The greatest possums develop past the size of a house cat. 
  • Their colors are increasingly different including black, chinchilla gray, and fox silver-gray and gold than those of opossums.
  • Their tails are bushy unlike those of the opossum. 
  • Further, they have musk organs located behind the ears.

Geographic Location

A North American Opposum 

Although they occupy North America, opossums began from South America and moved north. Opossums are also located in parts of Southern Canada, Chile, and Argentina. 

There are more than 60 opossum species

An Australian possum 

Possums are local to Australia, Sulawesi (Indonesia), and New Guinea. A Part of these animals were taken to New Zealand 

The number of species of the possums is 64

Playing Possum 

A fascinating behavior by the American opossum prompted the introduction of the game  "playing possum." This expression emerged as a result of the regular defensive mechanism in which they pretend to be dead or snoozing if enduring an onslaught or threat from predators. While in this state, their mouths will be open, lips turn black, teeth appear, secrete a foul fluid, and froth shows up from the mouth.

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