You don’t have to travel “down under” to see a pouched animal. Missouri has the opossum, a tree climbing, baby-on-board carrying, creature of the night.
Known by most folks as just plain “possums”, they are shy and secretive. Opossums are the size of a large cat with a long pointed face and hairless tail.
When bothered, they will feign death by “playing possum”. It isn’t really playing since they go into a brief nervous shock–then soon recover and head to safety.
Newborn opossums are blind and about the size of a jelly bean. They have claws on their feet which they use to climb up their mother’s fur to the security of her pouch, and later to ride on her back. They eat anything from insects to plants to garbage.
Learn more about opossums in MDC’s Field Guide.