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New Zealand Opossum


New Zealand Opossum

Opossum in New Zealand

The expression “New Zealand possum” is from time to time used in the United States to distinguish between American opossums from the Didelphidae family and New Zealand and Australian possums from the Phalangeroidea family. The two families of marsupials are related.


Australian and New Zealand possums are called possums due to their resemblance to their American relatives.


Both species raise their offspring in their pouches for the 1st 4 to 6 months of their lives prior to indoctrinating them into the harsh real world, and can be fearsome to come across in the dead of night, as they are wont to hiss fiercely to guard their territory.


Some experts find these little New Zealand critters very cute, with their big ears, large hairy tails, and bold eyes. Nevertheless, possums also possess sharp teeth and claws, and can more than adequately defend themselves in combat.


They also impart a distinctive smell, due to musk glands found behind their ears, and can oftentimes be sensed before they are encountered. Possums prefer to nuzzle in insulated, warm places like old logs and barns, and will keep off damp and cold whenever they possibly can.

Generally, American opossums are associated with road kill while New Zealand possums are conceived to be pernicious pests, and several efforts have been attempted by the State and agencies of conservation to get rid of them. New Zealand possums are not indigenous to the country, and due to their ravenous appetites and high rate of procreation, they wreak serious harm to native fauna and flora.


In the first place, the New Zealand possums were brought in from Australia in 1837 to start up an industry in fur.


Before long, the possums rapidly ran wild and started to wreak mayhem. Today, there are approximately seventy million New Zealand possums eating their way through New Zealand’s native plants.

The possum is indigenous to Australia, where it has established an ecological niche. Many plants in Australian have developed natural defenses to defend from possums, including sharp spines and bitter leaves.

Most plants in New Zealand are both defenseless and tasty and possums will keep coming back to the same tree until it stops producing edible foliage, literally eating it to death.

Because there are no natural enemies and large amounts of sources for food, possums have ravaged New Zealand's indigenous animals and plants, resulting in serious problems for conservationists.

Aside from killing trees and plants, which sabotages habitat and food sources for indigenous species, possums also transmit bovine tuberculosis, which can infect domesticated livestock as well as wild animals such as deer.

New Zealand Opossum

Aside from trying to curb the New Zealand possum population with poison and birth control, they are also hunted down for their luxurious fur which is soft. Major exports of New Zealand are products made of possum fur, and many trade organizations encourage New Zealand products from possum overseas.

If buyers must have apparels with products from animals in them, possum fur from New Zealand is a wise choice, because the creatures are snared rather than raised, and by buying possum fur from New Zealand, buyers are also aiding in preserving New Zealand's natural surroundings and fertile biological inheritance.



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