SeaWorld Orlando has a wide range of animals in its care. Today we’re going to highlight Journey - the Opossum. Journey is a 2.5-year-old Virginia opossum who has been at SeaWorld ever since her mom was killed in a car accident. She was the only baby that survived. She is now a part of SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassador team.
Virginia opossums are North America’s only marsupial animal, meaning they are like Australia’s kangaroos in that the carry their young in a pouch. Additionally, Virginia opossums must spend two months of their life in their mother’s pouch.
Journey, along with the rest of her species, has very poor eyesight. This is a lot of the reason why opossums get a bad rap for being mean. Because they can’t see very well, by the time they see you or other animals they become frightened and will hiss and show off their 50 razor -sharp teeth. This is the highest number of teeth found in any land mammal.
When they aren’t flashing their teeth at you, opossums do in deed “play possum” when scared. They curl up on the ground with mouth open and tongue hanging out. Their breathing slows and stays that way for a few minutes up to several hours. Playing possum allows them to escape any danger since most predators will not eat dead animals.
Opossums can also be recognized by their tails. The older they get the fatter their tail becomes. They have a fat deposit at the base. When they are younger they can use their tail to hold on to things but as they get older they can’t grip quite as well as when they were younger.
Opossums eat everything - fruit, vegetables, meat, cat food. They are opportunistic animals, which makes them go after any food they see, including those that are thrown from your car window. SeaWorld recommends throwing away all trash in a trash can instead of out the window to help keep opossums for running into traffic.
Come see Journey and the rest of SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassadors with discounted tickets to the park here on Best of Orlando.