Difference Between Opossum and Possum

Possum and opossum originated from the word “aposoum.” It means “white animal” in a Native American language.


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Opossum vs Possum

The difference between a possum to an opossum is solely that an opossum is confined to North America and South America, whereas the possums are a part of Australia, China, Indonesia and New Guinea. Possum are herbivores whereas opossum are omnivores and scavengers. Therefore, Possum are smaller in size than opossum.

Opossum vs Possum

They were born in the Southern part of America and became part of North America through the Great American Interchange scheme.

Possum are relatively smaller than Opossum, and the smallest species being the Sulawesi dwarf cuscus which is only 34 cm.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOpossumPossum
HabitatNorth America and South AmericaAustralia, New Guinea and Eastern Indonesia
TailBare tail with coarse furThick, furry and squirrel like tail.
SizeBigger than PossumSmaller than Opposum
Body structurePointed white face, black eyes and jagged teethRound body, large brown eyes and thick golden fur
Source of EnergyOpossum are omnivorous mammals and prefer meat and vegetation according to their species.Possum are herbivores and survive on plant material, eucalyptus leaves, herbs, shrubs and fruits.

Who are Opossum?

Opossums are medium-sized, semi-arboreal marsupials found in North America and South America.

The species are sexually dimorphic which means the males are slightly bigger, heavier, and having larger canines than females.

The gestation period extends to 12-14 days. After this, the female gives birth to a litter of 20 baby opossum.

Though they might sometimes occupy abandoned burrows. Opossums are generally found in areas like forest, shrub land, mangrove, rainforest, eucalyptus forest etc.


Who are Possum?

Possum are small, arboreal, herbivore marsupials found in Australia, China, New Guinea and Eastern Indonesia. These creatures prefer to live in the hollows of tall trees.

Interesting fact: Mountain brushtail possums change their mating partner depending on how much food is available with them in terms of plant material, herbs and shrubs.

Similar to any other marsupials, female possums give birth. Female possum have a gestation period of 17 days.

Baby possums are as small as honeybees and are born dead and blind.

Interestingly, possums have a different way of communication. They use guttural and harsh coughs and sometimes even sharp hisses.


Main Differences Between Opossum and Possum

  1. Opossums have a pointed white face, black eyes and jagged teeth. While the possums have a round body, large brown eyes and thick golden fur.
  2. Possums are herbivores and survive on plant material, whereas Opossum are omnivorous and survive on meat and vegetation.
Difference Between Opossum and Possum


  1. https://meridian.allenpress.com/jwd/article-abstract/39/2/418/123221
  2. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19550100979
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