The Opossum: Superhero of the Swamp

Claire Gambrell


            There is an animal that saves thousands of others every year just by eating. Not just normal eating like insects, snails, berries, road kill, or even garbage. This animal eats ticks as well, up to 5,000 ticks every season. That’s 20,000 ticks a year! This animal has a more negative reputation when really; they are more helpful than harmful. In fact, the only harm they could ever cause is hissing or playing dead when threatened! The animal I’m talking about is the opossum, and I’m here to tell you all about this sometimes cute, always contributive marsupial, and get a t-shirt while doing so.

            The opossum, is a part of the marsupial family, and is in fact, the only marsupial species that lives in the North American region. Opossums have a very keen sense of smell, but not as good hearing and eyesight. They’re about the size of a small dog with a very pointy snout and their coat is a white-creamy-colour. And you can’t forget the scaly pink tail! And while we’re on the topic of physical description, you should note that opossums have 50 teeth- the most teeth of any marsupial species to ever live- which is actually kind of terrifying.

            Opossums can adapt to live anywhere, but prefer to live in forests close to water as well as close to civilizations. The New Orleans swamps are the most desirable place for these Cajun critters to live their little lives. They also like to live in areas that are dimly lit or not lit at all since they are nocturnal. I have never thought of possums as being a part of the swamp, but after doing all this research I can see how perfectly they fit in the ecosystem; and how vital they are to it.

            In conclusion, these one-of-a-kind creatures that can live almost anywhere do so much good for other animals and their ecosystem. Whether it’s eating venomous snakes and infectious mice, to getting rid of fleas and ticks on others, any animal can benefit from having an opossum around. From the swamps to the forests to Bourbon Street, thank you Superhero of the Swamp for taking care of the world around you.