I teach an introductory course on mammal identification and natural history. This blog serves as a place for all of those stories, photos, facts and fun stuff that simply won't fit in the course. Type in your email below to follow this blog!
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Yes Virginia, you do have sandy claws...
I am still in Florida and checked the camera trap this morning to find a single raccoon photo and a single opossum. There is only one species of opossum in North America, so we can get away without worrying about its full name. This is the Virginia Opossum. There are several different kinds of opossums in Central and South America. "Virginia" has spread her way north all the way to Canada, largely because of human changes to the landscape. We have provided food, shelter and additional warmth in the winter. The opossum in this photo is right at home in the warmer climate of Florida.
Virginia Opossum, Orlando FL (4/11)
The opossum is a little too close to the camera and the flash washed out the all-white face. But check out that hind foot. The opossum has an opposable "big toe" instead of thumb. I tell my students that they hitchhike and rate movies with their feet :) Interestingly, that big toe has no nail at all while the other toes have very sharp ones.
I have one more night here. Maybe Virginia will come back and leave some more images on my camera and tracks on the sandy bank.