Mammals of North America

By Roland W. Kays; Don E. Wilson | Go to book overview

PLATE 1
OPOSSUM AND ARMADILLO

OPOSSUMS – This is the only one of the 94 species of New World marsupials that extends
its range northward into the United States. The Virginia Opossum is still spreading north in
association with human settlements. Frostbite regularly nips off their ear and tail tips on
cold winter nights.


VIRGINIA OPOSSUM Didelphis virginiana 350–940mm,
215–470mm, 800–6500g; 300–3700g

Unique with white head and long, scaly, prehensile tail. A medium-sized, rather ponderous-looking mammal with a long pink-tipped snout, white toes, and leathery, white-tipped ears. Body fur is gray with long white and gray guard hairs giving an overall scruffy appearance. Has bright yellow-green eyeshine at night. Known for “playing possum,” a catatonic state assumed in the face of danger. Although it is omnivorous, its slow reflexes make it a better scavenger than active hunter. Diet typically includes a mixture of locally abundant fruits, grains, grubs, and carrion. Nocturnal and primarily terrestrial, opossums are also adept climbers and can exploit fruiting trees. For a mammal of its size, opossums have remarkable reproductive potential and very high turnover in their population. Females typically have one litter of 7–9 young, although in the south some females may have a second litter. Babies are born after only a 2-week pregnancy, but grow for another 8 weeks in their mother’s pouch. Survival is low and the oldest known wild opossum was 36 months old when last captured. These slow mammals are frequent roadkills, and are often preyed on by predators such as coyotes. Surviving the winter in northern areas requires the use of human houses, barns or sheds as dens. in the south they use a wide variety of woodland habitats. In the northern portions of its range they primarily occur in lower elevation areas with less forest cover and more human development.

ARMADILLOS – Only one of the 21 New World armadillos inhabits the United States. This
insectivorous group specializes on ants and termites, and all species have very reduced,
peglike teeth.


NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO Dasypus novemcinctus 615–800mm,
245–370mm, 5.5–77kg; 3.6–60kg

Bony skin plates are unique. Long head, prominent ears, short legs, and short, tapered, scaly plated tail are distinctive. Body has nine moveable bands encircling the mid-section. It digs burrows with its nose and forefeet, and lines them with vegetation as a sleeping den. Primarily nocturnal and crepuscular, it is sometimes active during the day in the winter. One of the few mammals with no eyeshine. Surprisingly strong swimmers, can float with their head above water or exhale and sink to walk along stream bottoms. Breed in mid-summer, but implantation of the embryos is delayed, and young are not born until March or April. All litters consist of a set of identical quadruplets that come from a single egg. Although clumsy looking when rooting through leaf litter for insects, it can escape quickly by bounding straight up and then running away quickly. Searches for food with its nose, and digs small conical holes when extracting insects from underground. Armadillos are expanding their range east and northward; they were known only from southern Texas in the 1800s. Their colonization of Florida resulted from a combination of introduced animals in the Miami area in the 1920s and 30s and the natural eastward expansion of animals from Alabama in the early 1970s. Armadillos are adaptable to a wide variety of habitats including woodlands, fields, and brushy areas.

-18-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Mammals of North America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Acknowledgments 6
  • Introduction 7
  • Species Plates 18
  • Glossary 240
  • Index 242
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 252

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.