michigan opossum facts

Armadillos have been found as far north as Porter County at the tip of Lake Michigan, close to both the Illinois and Michigan borders. How do sea shells record temperature change? Opossums are relatively new to Michigan and were once restricted to the Southeastern United States. They use Sherman Live Traps, which leave the animals unharmed. They are ugly, nasty and grotesque. This gives people the ability to solve issues on their own, he said. They, like the others, rest in their dens during bad weather and forage for food to stay alive. AN OFFENSIVE ODOR SELLS THE PERFORMANCE. Opossums are usually found under decks and in sheds. Black, brown, and albino opossums have been found, but are very uncommon. While "possum" is a slang term that is often used, it is technically incorrect to use in reference to the Virginia opossum; there is a distinct group of marsupials in Australia and New Zealand that are true possums. The first harvest of opossum furs was first recorded in Ontario during the winter of 1982-1983, and the animals are expected to keep moving north as temperatures continue to warm, said Maimoona Dinani, a media relations officer for Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. "Within the past five years, we've easily doubled that.". The female carries and nurses her young in her marsupium until they are about 2 to 3 months old; then they are carried on her back another 1 to 2 months whenever they are away from the den. Virginia opossums are the only marsupial found in the United States. This protein is analyzed in the lab to confirm the identification of the mice. During this time opossums were limited to the southernmost part of the Lower Peninsula, with just one record in the western Upper Peninsula. The spit provides a protein called salivary amylase. She is in estrus a short period, about 36 hours. For example, sloped terrain that blocks the wind may create an area that's about 10 degrees warmer than the surrounding area, which can be enough to keep soil from freezing. "Typically that term is reserved for, first, animals that are coming in that are causing specific problems," Bump said. The "possum… These two species of mice are hard to identify, so to gather reliable information about their changing ranges, Professor Myers and his colleagues must trap them to get a closer look. The red dots show Professor Myers' oppossum road kill documentation for 1980-2006. Not many predators in Indiana feed on the armadillo, allowing it to move in with relatively little resistance. They are even found in garages and we have removed opossums in attics. This is quite incorrect, however. The primary sources of sustenance are small rodents, insects, worms, slugs and snails, frogs and birds. Collect the data, but don't hurt the mice! Chris Hoving, adaptation specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said it's pretty uncommon to draw a direct connection between climate change and the movement of an animal species. Geographic Range. Opossums are poor diggers so they will use abandoned woodchuck, skunk, rabbit holes, that can be found under porches sheds, or decks. The study describes a noticeable change in the range of opossums. Opossum ears are black, hairless, leathery and tipped in pink or white. The name opossum shrimp derives from the females’ brood pouch, Opossums are omnivores and can eat a wide variety of foods and do not directly compete with other species that have more specific needs, Bump said. He took stock of the local fauna. "It has been predicted that they will continue to expand northward as winters become milder. For many decades their range has been expanding north. Generally nocturnal, the Virginia opossum, or common opossum, does well in both rural and urban areas. Below is one of the traps. We are near the northern range for this southern creature and they lack traditional winter survival attire such as the thick fur coats and fur covered ears and tails that protect raccoons, foxes, and coyotes. Opossums are grey in color with a long pointed nose and rounded ears. Opossums (scientific name Didelphis virginiana) are originally native to more southern regions of North America. Opossum Removal Service – Michigan. Whether celebrated as Michigan's only marsupial or reviled as backyard pests, opossums make an impression. Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. "In southern Ontario, down by Niagra or Windsor, opossums have been there in a little more numbers in the early to late '90s," said Robin Horwath, general manager for the Ontario Fur Managers Federation. "When I got there, a lot of things that should have been common weren't there at all, or they were uncommon," Myers said. In populations found at 44° N latitude, the breeding season lasts from February to September, whereas at 30°N latitude, the breeding season … Winter can be challenging for opossums in Michigan. Armadillos may take advantage of the same effect by burrowing under a shed or using a house as a wind block, Westrich said. Hoving said. They first appeared in the southernmost part of the state. Fish, for example, are sensitive to temperature changes in water, allowing their distribution changes to be more easily tracked, Hoving said. They Rarely Have Rabies "That's more rare with terrestrial species, but opossums are an exception to that," Hoving said. 10 Surprising Facts About Possums That Prove They Aren’t Pests 1. Whether celebrated as Michigan's only marsupial or reviled as backyard pests, opossums make an impression. We sometimes find them in … They are generally non aggressive, playing dead when confronted by predators. Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Opossums are usually found under decks and in sheds. Remove opossums from your property immediately. Their tails are prehensile and can be used to help them climb and hold onto tree branches. "We don't usually experience that because most of us are asleep at that point. They are attracted to carrion and can often be spotted near roadkill. They're Not Aggressive "The climate change that we've seen thus far has been relatively small compared to what we're expecting to see into the future." Professor Myers has documented the opossum’s northward spread with observations of road kills he sees while driving up north on his research trips. Opossum Awareness & Advocacy's mission is to educate the public about opossums' including the fact they kill ticks & mice that carry Lyme & other infectious diseases. We sometimes find them in attics but that isn't generally the case here in Michigan. Opossums are voracious eaters that will try anything they … They won't be able to dig, forage for food, evade predators or cross roads very quickly," Westrich said. During the winter, the area under bird feeders is the local diner for a number of animals, including opossums. Famous for playing dead, they are a common sight rooting around trash cans or sheltering in barns during cold months. Armadillos can find shelter in what is called a micro-climate. "With opossums, you can draw a pretty straight line and say they don't have fur on their tails, or on their ears, so they're susceptible to frostbite.". An Michigan resident who would like to animal capture opossum within Michigan will have to pay within the dollar amount of 149 this fall for an nuisance wildlife control hunting certificate and, or within the dollar amount of 149 for most likely a critter trap opossum wildlife trapping tag. Contact him at (810) 989-6276 or jervin@gannett.com. Forrest development and human population changes were concluded to be likely contributing factors but lacking as a full explanation. At the beginning of the 20th century, opossum populations were limited to the southernmost parts of Michigan. Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) have a wide range throughout Central and North American, which continues to expand.Currently, Virginia opossums can be found from Costa Rica to southern Ontario, Canada. As omnivores, they can eat a wide variety of foods and adapt to different living arrangements. Opossums are a fairly new arrival in Canada and are likely to continue moving, according to Canadian environmental authorities. Like opossums, armadillos are susceptible to frostbite, which can damage their extremities. "The coldest temperature at night, that's the temperature that's warming fastest with climate change," Hoving said. Did you know that opossums eat up to … Opossums really do play dead. Another road kill study conducted between 2006 and 2008 found opossums to be common in the southern part of the Upper Peninsula as well. Support stories like these. Opossums weigh approximately 6 to 7 pounds on the average. Armadillos burrow for food and shelter and their limbs have poor circulation, which hurts them in colder climates. So they'll freeze off parts of their ears and their tail, sometimes they'll lose a toe or that kind of thing.". They have long prehensive tails which gives them another limb to use for hanging. Marsupials are mammals that use a pouch to carry their young. A picture of a possum playing dead … The opossum (/ əˈpɒsəm / or / pɒsəm /) is a marsupial of the order Didelphimorphia (/ daɪˌdɛlfɪˈmɔːrfiə /) endemic to the Americas. "Even in southern Michigan, it's hard to find a possum that's over a year old that doesn't have damage from cold," said Adam Bump, furbearer specialist for the Michigan DNR. Hoving said the opossum is an example of the drastic change that can come even with only 1 degree of warming. They are important to the environment by keeping areas clean. To the left are two of Professor Myers’ collaborators setting Sherman Live Traps. Adult opossums get a bit larger than this. These thumbs are on the back feet as well as on the front feet. This is something important when considering opossums as pets. This species has a long breeding season, however, the exact months of the breeding season varies based on an individual’s location. ". So it appears that the warming climate may be driving the northward march of the white-footed mice… at the expense of the woodland deer mice. They have a long, narrow and cone-shaped face. Armadillos have been observed traveling along roadways and right of ways, the cleared land being easier for them to traverse, Westrich said. "Instead, several observations point to climatic warming as the primary cause underlying these fauna changes," the study said. The inner toe of each hind foot is like a thumb and gives the opossum great … They are marsupials with prehensile tails, making them very good climbers. It has long, coarse, grayish-white fur. Most of the nearly 1,000 known species live in the sea; a few live in brackish water; and fewer still live in fresh water. Don't give opossums access to garbage. They have long prehensile tails which gives them another limb to use for hanging. Opossum shrimp, any member of the crustacean order Mysidacea. If approached or threatened, the opossum … "Respect them from a distance, don't chase them...," Westrich said. The Virginia Opossum can be found in Michigan.Some believe that possums and opossums are both the same animal. Most are 1 to 3 cm (about 0.4 to 1.2 inches) long. They will flop down and be very still with their tongue hanging out to trick predators. Brad Westrich, an Indiana Department of Natural Resources mammalogist, said the department started getting unconfirmed reports of armadillos in the late 1990s and started confirming a presence in the early 2000s. At the start of the 20th century, the Virginia opossum was "known only from a few specimens from the southernmost part of the state." Tick season is upon us, and with the added threat of Lyme disease, it’s serious business here in Michigan. Opossums have a sharp-pointed and slender muzzle, prominent thin ears, and short legs. But the continuing expansion of the opossums range has been made possible by rising low temperatures. Playing dead can last up to six hours, according to ADW. Despite finding a place in more northern latitudes, Michigan is still largely inhospitable to the Virginia opossum, with its hairless extremities prone to damage from the cold during winter months. Armadillos, a fixture of the American southwest, have been moving further north, as well. They have long snouts and small, sharp teeth. Fast facts about the only native North Amercian marsupial, the Virginia opossum North America's only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal. When he finds a dead opossum by the road, he carefully notes the location with his GPS, and makes a record of it. "In recent years, Virginia opossums have been increasing their range northwards and now can be found throughout most of southern Ontario," Dinani wrote in an email. They also burn through their fat reserves fairly quickly, Westrich said. "And some things that should have been uncommon were actually pretty common.". Many species of wildlife look at opossums as a delicacy, including red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, coyotes, and red fox. Opossums aren't the only ones moving north. © 2020 www.thetimesherald.com. They are very adaptable and found in Michigan recently even spreading to the Upper Peninsula. Indiana Department of Natural Resources mammalogist, Phillip Myers, emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at University of Michigan. In this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, Corey Adkins shows us an animal that may be getting a bad rap. Artificial feeding also tends to concentrate opossums in a small area; overcrowding can spread diseases and parasites." Along with new species moving in, the state could see more northern oriented species, such as moose, moving out,  Hoving said. Their tails are hairless and scaly, and their feet are shaped like hands. As North America's only marsupial, the opossum is unique and widely misunderstood. Better still, most opossums cannot contract or spread rabies. "Between the early 2000s and say 2015, we had maybe 15 armadillos on Indiana's records," Westrich said. The study offered three large-scale trends that could have possibly lead to the range changes for opossums and other mammals: regeneration of Michigan's forests after logging devastation, changes in the human population and a warming climate. Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) The Opossum is North American’s only marsupial. Even when confronted with a predator, they will use the infamous "playing possum" technique to... 2. Professor Myers says, "We've been looking at all small mammal species — what we're focusing on here is those that are changing.". Find our subscription offers here. This is a study specimen of a juvenile opossum. This is the time mating can occur. The sample dots line up vertically following the roads used by Dr. Myers, and are clear evidence of the oppossums northward spread—all the way to the northermost parts of the Lower Peninsual as well in the southwest Upper Peninsula. Even though opossums have proliferated extensively beyond their traditional range, they are not considered an invasive species. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 110 or more species in 19 genera. In Michigan Opossums are the only marsupial, meaning they have a pouch that they carry their young in. Professor Myers found that in the 1970s, ice broke up in early April; now it usually happens a month sooner. Unlike most other wild … The armored animals haven't really been a pest, and much of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources's work concerning them involves making sure humans play nice. For each species we’ll have a picture to help you identify it, a bit about its size, a brief description with some fun facts, as well as where and how they can be found in the state of Michigan. Then a 1968 road kill study found that opossums had expanded about 125 miles north. Like other marsupials, opossums have thumbs, called an opposable hallux, on their paws. The opossum is a medium-sized animal that measures between 15 and 20 inches long (not including the tail) and weighs between 4 and 12 pounds. Captain John Smith, an English explorer, is credited with naming the opossum during his visit to the … "If they do get frostbite, they're likely a goner. Opossums will want to climb over everything in your home. Spit samples are taken from the mice. Sperm, which has become paired in the male opossum’s reproductive tract, will move through the lateral vaginal canals and become separate again in the female’s tract. They kill vermin, including mice, and garden pests. This lead him to begin collecting data on the prevalence of various species across Michigan and referencing museum records. "They get frostbite in their ears, their tails, their digits. "As that's warming, the species has been able to move north.". Sometimes this trick will allow opossums to escape. "It also usually carries with it a connotation that the species is there unnaturally.". Even bigger changes may be in the works for other species. Opossums are the only marsupial in North America, meaning they have a pouch that they carry their young in. Experts say the opossum isn't finished moving, and they're not the only animal marching north. Jeremy Ervin covers environment, education and more. Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. That work lead to a paper published in 2009, which tracked the ranges of various small mammals, including opossums. Did you know that opossums eat up to 5000 ticks per season thereby reducing our risk of contracting Lyme Disease and other tick-born diseases? The red dots on the map show documented opossum collecting locations dating  from 1889 to 1979. The range of the white-footed mouse is expanding northward... ...while the range of the woodland deer mouse is shrinking. Opossums are omnivores and survive by eating a variety of foods. Caught In The Headlights, photo by James Marvin Phelps. Our expert wildlife technicians have years of experience trapping and evicting critters of all kinds. If you're a gardener, you'll enjoy having a possum in your yard as slugs are a favorite food of theirs. After being carefully removed from the trap, a mouse's measurements are taken to help identify it – the two species of mice are very similar. Michigan doesn't do much to control or manage opossums, besides allowing them to be hunted or trapped any time of year with a valid license, Bump said. Famous for playing dead, they are a … They are not dirty; they are very clean animals and groom and clean as much as cats. Each mouse's sex and age are also recorded. In human inhabited areas, opossums often meet their demise in the teeth of dogs and cats, or under the wheels of a car. Creature Control can help with removing your opossum issues. Their hairless ears and tails often get frost bitten and it is unusual to see an opossum with the tip on its tail. "If we're seeing a species that used to be a southern Michigan species all the way into the Upper Peninsula, you can imagine twice that much change over the next half a century.". This chart shows that the ice break up is happening earlier now than it has in the past 160 years. Opossums Kill Ticks by the Thousands. To the left and below is spit sample equipment. Phillip Myers, emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at University of Michigan, began teaching at a biological station south of Pelston in 1985. Learn everything you need to know about opossum facts, behavior and habitat. By 1990, they were found to have expanded another 125 miles north, establishing themselves across the Lower Peninsula, the study said. What's happening to mice and opossums is also happening to other mammals…. Mother opossums carry their young, called joeys, on their backs. The possum is the animal we are discussing in this article, but it is also known as the opossum. My friend Tara with the Leelanau Conservation District shared some information about opossums from Opossum Awareness & Advocacy (opossum facts image below that you can share):. Myers is seen in this photo weighing a woodland deer mouse as part of his research. In Michigan, the northward movement of opossums in the past 25 years has been dramatic. Get Help Now, Call: 1-800-441-1519. No possum lives in Michigan. They've since expanded northwards throughout the state, establishing a presence in the lower Upper Peninsula and more recently moving into Ontario. The female opossum is a spontaneous ovulator with an estrous cycle of about 28 days. In this article we’re going to talk about all 8 of these species of woodpeckers in Michigan. All rights reserved. Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy. The opossum's journey north is not unprecedented. It ’ s serious business here in Michigan with climate change, '' the study describes a change. 160 years order of marsupials in the past 160 years ) long as... Are relatively new to Michigan and were once restricted to the environment by keeping areas.. Food, evade predators or cross roads very quickly, '' Westrich said by! Kill documentation for michigan opossum facts to frostbite, they are a fairly new in. Help with removing your opossum issues chase them..., '' Bump.. 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