Gray Four-Eyed Opossum

Gray Four-Eyed Opossum

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Infraclass
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Philander opossum
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
2.5-3.5 yrs
WEIGHT
200- 674 g
LENGTH
22-33 cm

Gray four-eyed opossums have gray coat and the white spots located above each eye, which makes them appear to have four eyes. These white spots give these opossums their common name. The prehensile tail is bicolored, with a pale distal part and a longer proximal darker gray part, and is naked at the end. The dorsal fur is gray, throat and cheeks are cream-colored. Adults have black ears along the edges. Females are slightly smaller and have seven mammae within their pouch.

Distribution

Gray four-eyed opossums are found in Central and South America, ranging from southern Mexico to Peru, Bolivia and southwestern Brazil. Their habitats include primary, secondary and disturbed forest.

Gray Four-Eyed Opossum habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Gray four-eyed opossums are solitary, nocturnal animals but can be active during the day. Although they are terrestrial, they are very good at climbing and swimming. These opossums build nests out of dry leaves in hollow trees, tree forks, fallen logs and in ground burrows. They roll up into a ball while sleeping and although their eyes are actually closed, the white patches of fur above their eyes gives them the appearance of an awake animal. Gray four-eyed opossums do not "play dead" like other opossum species. Instead they are aggressive and fight with potential predators. Some displays of aggression include opening the mouth wide and hissing loudly. Gray four-eyed opossums are known to be "the fiercest fighter of the opossums". They are not vocal animals, however, they communicate with a series of clicks, chirps and hisses.

Lifestyle
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Gray four-eyed opossums are omnivorous. They feed on small animals and vegetation, such as leaves, seeds, and fruits.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
during the rainy season
PREGNANCY DURATION
13-14 days
BABY CARRYING
4-5 joeys
INDEPENDENT AGE
76-90 days
BABY NAME
joey

Gray four-eyed opossums are polygynous, which means that one male mates with multiple females. Breeding is typically during the rainy season, although they can breed year-round. More young born during the wet season when there is an abundance of fruit. Females produce 2-4 litters per year, however, many pouch young don't survive, especially during the dry months. An average litter size is 4-5 young. The average gestation period is 13-14 days. Young nurse in their mother's pouch until they are 68-75 days old. Once weaned, they stay in their mother's nest for a further 8-15 days before their mother becomes aggressive and expels them. Females become sexually mature at about 6-7 months. Males become sexually mature at around 7 months of age.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats to Gray four-eyed opossums.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Gray four-eyed opossum total population size. This animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable.

Ecological niche

Due to their diet, Gray four-eyed opossums help control insect and small vertebrate populations. They are also important dispersers for seeds as they often deposit the seeds in high quality sites.

References

1. Gray Four-Eyed Opossum on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_four-eyed_opossum
2. Gray Four-Eyed Opossum on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40516/0

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