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  • Rhode Island Educational Article of the Month - What is a opossum’s mating habits, when do they have babies, how do they raise their young?

What is a opossum’s mating habits, when do they have babies, how do they raise their young?

What is a opossum’s mating habits, when do they have babies, how do they raise their young?

Breeding Season
The breeding season for a Rhode Island opossum can begin as early as December and continue all the way through October. It is during the months of February through June that most infants end up being born. Most female opossums will have somewhere between one to three litters per year. During this time, the male opossum will try to attract the female by making a series of clicking sounds with his mouth.

Birthing Period
It may roughly take eleven to thirteen days after the mating period is over for infant Rhode Island opossums to be born. There could be over twenty infants in one litter but an average-sized litter is about eight to nine infants only. When they are first born, the infants are so tiny that all twenty of them could fit into a teaspoon! They are hairless, embryo-looking, no bigger than a dime and weigh roughly around .13 grams!

However, their development period doesn’t stop their. In fact, it has only begun. These young opossums make an arduous journey from the birthing canal to the pouch upon entering the immediately latch on to a teat so that they can continue their Rhode Island development process.

Raising Period
The young Rhode Island opossums remain in the mother’s pouch for about two and half months which is around 55 to 70 days at which time, their eyes begin to open. For those two months, their sole source of nutrition is their mother’s milk. These infants become to big for the pouch and therefore, start climbing out of the pouch and climb onto their mother’s back where they will stay as she scavenges for food.

This is a pivotal point in the lives of the young opossums as this is the time they learn important survival skills such as:
l Finding Providence food sources
l Avoiding predators

If a young Rhode Island opossum were to be separated from his or her mother at some point, it will produce a sneezing sound in order to catch her attention. The mother Rhode Island opossum will then reply with clicking sounds.

In approximately, three months, the Rhode Island mother will start weaning her infants off and about four to five months, the infants are big enough (around seven to nine inches at this point) to go out on their own. After a few more months, the infants will no longer be infants are now adults and go off on their own.

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