Bringing the zoo to you: all about Virginia opossums

Welcome to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo! Founded in 1899, this urban oasis is home to 900 animals representing more than 250 species—including the Virginia opossum. Zookeeper Kellie is going to teach us all about this important species of mammal.

As you’ll learn in the video, Virginia opossums such as Clyde are marsupials; a marsupial is an animal that’s born and then climbs into a pouch located on its mother’s stomach, where it will grow up to get big and strong. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found in all of North America.

Have you ever seen an opossum in your neighborhood? If you have, it was probably dark outside. That’s because opossums are nocturnal, which means they’re active during nighttime, but not during the day. When they come out at night, they’re on the hunt for things to eat like bugs or dead rodents. Opossums also really love to eat ticks, which provides a great benefit to humans because it helps cut down on the spread of things like Lyme disease. Can you believe an opossum will eat as many as 5,000 ticks over the course of one year?

In this video, watch as Clyde chows down on some of his favorite snacks like avocado and hard-boiled eggs. Don’t miss the close-up shot of his super-sharp teeth. Can you guess how many teeth Clyde has? (Here’s a hint: He has more than twice as many as you do!)

Virtual Kids Week activities are intended for children with involvement from a parent or guardian.