Spring is almost here! While these marsupials stay active throughout the winter, opossums are just as enthusiastic about the arrival of warmer weather as we are.
Like some humans, they struggle in the winter. Generally solitary animals, they don’t find comfort in sharing their dens with others. Opossums look for hollow trees, wood piles, buildings and rock crevices while seeking out their shelter. Since their fur does not keep them warm enough to adequately defend them from the harsh elements, their tails, toes and ears are extremely susceptible to frostbite. Once an opossum has decided where its den will be, they get to work weatherproofing it, using their tails to transport materials, including dry leaves and grass, to create an insulating lining for their dens. While opossums do not hibernate, they typically only emerge their dens when they need food or water.
When you take advantage of the warmer weather ahead of us, you may find opossums doing the same thing. On sunny spring-like days opossums can be found atop trees soaking up the rays or below bird feeders grabbing a quick snack. Typically nocturnal, during the winter months they tend to search for food during the warmer afternoons.
Opossums have been spotted more frequently along the Rapids Lake Trail on the Rapids Lake Unit as temperatures begin to rise, with some common sightings being underneath the bird feeders and the trees near the Gehl Mittelsted House. Venture out on a warm day to see if you can spot one!