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Virginia Opossum Tail of Woe

Congratulations to Rebecca Weil, the first (of many) NC readers to recognize Virginia Opossum tracks, tail drag and all!

Opossums are a southern marsupial that have extended their range into northern New England in increasing numbers since about 1900.  They are able to survive here, without hibernating, in part due to the fact that they store fat under their skin and in their tail which helps sustain them through long, cold winters. 

Opossums that live in the Northeast are vulnerable, however, to the cold and run the risk of having their relatively hairless ears and tails frostbitten. In fact, it is unusual to spot an opossum that has spent a winter here and not lost at least part of one of these appendages from frostbite (see pictured Virginia Opossum tail after losing its tip).

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