"Respect them from a distance, don't chase them...," Westrich said. "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. 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. In Michigan, the northward movement of opossums in the past 25 years has been dramatic. Opossums really do play dead. A picture of a possum playing dead … The female opossum is a spontaneous ovulator with an estrous cycle of about 28 days. Whether celebrated as Michigan's only marsupial or reviled as backyard pests, opossums make an impression. Opossums (scientific name Didelphis virginiana) are originally native to more southern regions of North America. Not many predators in Indiana feed on the armadillo, allowing it to move in with relatively little resistance. Experts say the opossum isn't finished moving, and they're not the only animal marching north. No possum lives in Michigan. 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. Their hairless ears and tails often get frost bitten and it is unusual to see an opossum with the tip on its tail. Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy. In this article we’re going to talk about all 8 of these species of woodpeckers in Michigan. During this time opossums were limited to the southernmost part of the Lower Peninsula, with just one record in the western Upper Peninsula. Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. They first appeared in the southernmost part of the state. 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. We sometimes find them in attics but that isn't generally the case here in Michigan. "It also usually carries with it a connotation that the species is there unnaturally.". They use Sherman Live Traps, which leave the animals unharmed. 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. Virginia opossums are the only marsupial found in the United States. "Within the past five years, we've easily doubled that.". Contact him at (810) 989-6276 or jervin@gannett.com. Artificial feeding also tends to concentrate opossums in a small area; overcrowding can spread diseases and parasites." They are very adaptable and found in Michigan recently even spreading to the Upper Peninsula. Along with new species moving in, the state could see more northern oriented species, such as moose, moving out,  Hoving said. 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. Opossums are relatively new to Michigan and were once restricted to the Southeastern United States. Mother opossums carry their young, called joeys, on their backs. This lead him to begin collecting data on the prevalence of various species across Michigan and referencing museum records. 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. "It has been predicted that they will continue to expand northward as winters become milder. 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