• Open daily 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Grounds close at 4 p.m.

SHORT-TAIL OPOSSUM

(Monodelphis domestica)

Our short-tail opossum is a female named Elly, who was born in early 2014 and came to the Zoo in May 2014.

ABOUT THE SHORT-TAIL OPOSSUM

STATUS IN THE WILD

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least Concern. This species has a presumed large population, with tolerance to some degree of habitat modification.

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HABITAT

Native habitats are the forests of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay. Short-tailed opossums typically live in low vegetation in neotropical and rainforest environments, especially tropical forests, scrublands and grassy areas. They often occur in agricultural and suburban environments within their range.

DIET

Rodents, frogs, reptiles, invertebrates, as well as some fruit. They hunt primarily by scent, poking their snout into vegetation in search of prey or dead animals to scavenge. Once they find living prey, they pounce onto it, holding it down with their forefeet while delivering a killing strike, often to the base of the neck, with their sharp teeth.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • They can successfully take prey up to their own size.

  • Short-tailed opossums vocalize when threatened or approached by a possible mate. A series of chirps or barks is used to advertise threat level.

  • They are nocturnal, being most active in the first three hours after dusk.