possum vs opossum
With their signature bare tail, the opossum is North America’s only known marsupial; this means the animal carries its young in a pouch much like the Australian kangaroo. Once again, we can use context clues (torpor) to guess that it is the North American variety. In the article mentioned at the beginning, the final clue to the identity of the mysterious backyard visitor was this: “if you so much as say a word to one of them, they freeze in their tracks, bear their teeth, and start hissing and groveling with mouths dripping in spit.” Yes, it’s the opossum. The possum and the opossum are both hunted animals and possess an instinct to play dead, or “play possum” when threatened. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. You know he is talking about the opossum of North America because he makes reference to its unique tendency to faint as if dead when threatened: Another author, Amy Rowland, makes reference to the grayish-white color of the opossum. The ears of a possum are larger than that of the Virginia opossum, and their fur is softer and much more bushy. In 1792, a law was passed mandating that state elections be held within a 34-day period before that day, so most elections took place in November. Possums are a subfamily of marsupials native to Australasia. “It nearly worked,” he added. But here’s where it gets confusing: in North America, people often shorten opossum to possum when talking about the creatures prowling around the backyard at night. Without hesitation, you might exclaim “An opossum!” However, another person might call it a possum. Opossum can be pronounced with its first syllable either voiced or silent. So it was decided that Tuesday would be the day that Americans would vote in elections, and in 1845, Congress passed a law that presidential elections would be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. When confronted, the animal involuntarily faints in shock for anywhere from several minutes to four hours. You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog. Enter your email for word fun in your inbox every day. This bizarre animal turned out to be the only marsupial native to the U.S. and Canada. The opossum is primarily dark gray in color but some resemble cinnamon, and, as in Heidi’s case, white opossums are known to exist. Is there a difference between an opossum and a possum? Though possums and opossums have a lot in common—including the fact that they’re nocturnal, omnivorous, tree-dwelling marsupials that are known to play dead, or “play possum,” when threatened—they look quite different. 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