The Rye, New Hampshire, police department received a pretty unusual call recently. A Rye resident was driving on Sagamore Rd and saw an Opossum had been struck. It is always sad to see a deceased animal on the side of the road but the resident also noticed that there were nine newborn Opossums there too. These fresh new babies had no chance of survival without the care of their mom.

The police headed to the scene where they were able to round up all nine babies (with the help of the resident). They cared for the babies all night and the next day they brought them to a wildlife center in York, Maine, where they are reportedly doing well!

In spirit of these nine sweet babies, I thought I would share with you some fun facts I recently learned about Opossums (all thanks to the website Mental Floss)

Possums and Opossums are actually different animals!

I have always wondered about this. I hear people refer to these animals as Possums and Opossums and from where I am sitting they appear to be the same animal. That's a North American thing. In America we basically use the work Possum as an abbreviation for Opossums because we are lazy like that. In Australia Possums refer to a completely different animal.

Here's an Opossum (and her babies)

Mother opossum carrying her babies
Getty Images

and here is an Australian Possum:

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Similar, but different!

Also in Australia the term "possum" is used as a term of endearment. I learned that during my semester abroad.

I have a few more fun Opossum facts for ya:

  • They slow the spread of Lyme disease

  • Their tail acts as a fifth appendage

  • Females have two sets of lady parts. Mhm. I could make some off color joke here but I shall refrain.

  • They are amazing at playing dead. They even omit an odor that makes them smell like a corpse. (nasty, but dedicated)

For more fun Opossum Facts go here!

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