An American opossum: Up close and very, VERY personal

Opossums are truly unique creatures. They are America’s only marsupial, they seem to be immune to the venom of rattlesnakes and copperheads, and they have some fascinating reproductive traits (as you’ll see in this video).

Opossums’ ability to feign death when threatened by a predator has given us the phrase “playing possum”. (It’s worth noting that when “playing possum”, an opossum not only looks dead it smells dead; it releases a foul corpse smell from its anus, and there probably isn’t a coyote in the entire country who still feels hungry after a whiff of that.)

We’ve already published a video of an opossum cleaning herself – they are very tidy animals and we often see them busy with grooming – but in this clip, the opossum is a male and grooming went a little far, and… well, you’ll have to see for yourself. It reminds us of the old joke “Why do dogs lick themselves? Because they can”.

You’ll notice, also, that opossums have double-tipped penises. See? We told you they were fascinating creatures.

The second part of the clip is less salacious but, we like to think, no less interesting. Opossums build themselves comfortable nests out of twigs and grass, and they carry nesting materials in their curled-up tails. Quite a skill.

For more information about “the strange ways” of American opossums, take a look at this page on Roads End Naturalist ( We learned a lot and we hope you will too.



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