Possums have very interesting reproductory systems. Possums mate to make more of their own, but how do possums mate? There are two proposed ways by which they breed.
Possums mate by delivering their sperms inside the female possum. The males have a low sperm count of about 3 million compared to a rabbit’s sperm count, which is 150 million.
In this article, we will see where, when, and how often the possums mate with one another to ensure the continuity of their progeny. We will also look at their reproductive systems and the critical role it plays in the fertilization of an egg and sperm.
How To Tell If A Possum Is Pregnant?
Possums mate in the following way:
- The male possum has a forked penis. This fits into the female’s dual vaginas.
- Once the insertion has been done, the male possum releases its sperms to fertilize the egg present inside the female.
- Another story of mating is that the forked organ of the male possum is inserted inside the nostrils of the female possum.
- The male sperm is then introduced inside the female via the nasal passage.
- The female thrusts her nose inside her pouch
- She blows vigorously.
- In this manner, the male cells can successfully reach the female reproductive tract.
- Young ones are born once their development process has been completed.
- Once the babies are born, the mother keeps them in the pouch and feeds them through her nipples.
- The development process comes later, in which the tiny tails and furs start developing. The possums can walk out and about.
Do Possums Have Mates?
Yes, like all other animals, possums have mates too. They find their mates during the night and come near them to reproduce. The mountain brushtail possums in Northern Victoria, Australia, are polygamists. They live a single life typically.
They get together once a year to breed. They can reproduce more than once a year as well. Even though they have mates and carry out mating, they do not live together with their partners.
Where Do Possums Mate?
Possums breed in their nests or the dens they discover of other animals. When they are one to two years of age, possums reach reproductive age. As possums come out during the night, it is at this time do they find a female possum.
A female possum gets attracted to a male possum, and the male deposits its sperm inside the female. Once mating has been done, the male leaves and does not return.
When Do Possums Breed?
Their breeding period starts in late March and lasts up to May. The gestation period of the zygote is about 17 to 19 days. A lot of babies can be produced at one time.
The maximum number of babies that have been recorded is 20. The prime time for mating is the nighttime for possums.
How Often Do Possums Mate?
Possums are marsupials, and they reproduce twice a year. The male who carries out mating is called the jack. Once he has mated, he does not return to the female. The gestation period of possums is about 12 to 13 days.
The female possums give birth to so many offspring. After which, they take care of their young ones inside their pouch. However, not all babies can survive. Some die while they are young as they do not nourish their mothers.
Do Possums Make Noise When They Mate?
Yes, like most other animals, the possums squeal while mating. This is the characteristic sound by which researchers recognize that the possums are mating with their she-members.
Both the possums and rats have high-pitched squeals. The brushtail possum gives off a loud throaty call to other males as well. This is done to inform the other members of the same specie about their home range.
Do Possums Mate For Life?
The possums do not mate for life. The female opossum gives birth to a large number of baby possums at one time. However, only one-third of them survive. The young ones stay with their mother for the first few months of their life.
However, after a year has passed, these possums are now referred to as mature possums, and they can go out to live on their own and mate with the other female possums.
Are Possums Monogamous?
Yes, the possums have a monogamous reproductive system. The majority of the possums reside in a cohesive group. There is a female and male. They prevail in this group until the little ones come to life.
Even though the possums stay like this for a short time only, this suggests that they have a monogamous reproductory system. However, once the female possums have given birth, the male possum does not stay in the vicinity for long.
Where Do Possums Keep Their Babies?
As possums are marsupials, they keep their babies inside their pouch for nourishment and protection.
Moreover, the little possums need a warm temperature to grow and survive. For the first few months, a female possum carries her offspring to wherever she goes.
It is only after the first three to four months have passed do the mother possums detach themselves from their babies. The little possums come out and start searching for food with their mother at night. They learn survival techniques from her.
How To Breed Possums?
There is a natural way by which possums breed with one another. However, their population can be propagated for research purposes inside the labs.
The scientists do this by releasing the male possums into a cage with a female possum. The possum goes inside and deposits its sperms inside the female. If the fertilization is successful, more progeny can be produced.
Do Possums Stay In Pairs?
The possums, by their nature, are solitary animals. They prefer living alone while they are not breeding or mating. The possums mostly come together in their breeding season, which lasts till October.
The mild temperatures suit the possums, as it is easier for them to come out and search for their mating partners.
How Big Is A Pregnant Possum?
After 11 to 13 days of mating, the newborns come out shortly. Only 8 to 9 infants will survive, and the rest will die. The pregnant possum may not seem that big, but it can grow up to 24 to 26 inches long.
This includes the tail of the possum as well. At this stage, the possum weighs about 6 to 12 pounds. After giving birth to the possum, the mother’s size reduces considerably.
How Quickly Do Possums Reproduce?
Possums reach their full reproductive potential when they grow up to 1 year. By the time they are two-year-old, many have reproduced.
Most the of the possum mothers raise up to 13 young ones after which they start finding a place of their own to nest and breed.
Do Possums Lay Eggs?
No, the possums do not lay eggs; they give birth to the young. The babies are called joeys, and they are about jelly beans when they are born. The female possums are called jills, while the males are called jacks.
What Do Pregnant Possums Do?
If you see a pregnant possum, the mother and her babies should be brought to the wildlife rehabilitation centers. If, however, the babies are present inside the pouch, they should be left there.
One should wear gloves while dealing with them. If you come across a baby possum that is not fit to survive, you should bring it to a vet. Proper care and attention can save the life of their particular possum.
Do Possums Mate With Cats?
Although this is extremely rare, there have been animals called the ‘Lykoi Breed Cats.’ They are possum-cat hybrids. However, this is just an observation, and DNA analysis confirmation has not yet been done.
The controlled breeding experiments have resulted in giving rise to this specie. It did not exist on its own in its natural habitat.
Do Brush Tail Possums Mate For Life ?
Like the rest of the possum species, the brushtail possums also do not mate for life. There is a specific breeding time for them in which they find the female possums to mate with.
However, the interesting fact about them is that they like to breed with the possums in their locality and rarely travel far enough to mate with another possum from a different place.
Wrapping It Up
Possums breed like most other animals. The male possums come out at night to search for the female possum. Once both of them are done with the mating part, the mother gets busy in taking care of her little ones.
Generally, a female possum reproduces once or twice in her lifetime. The male possums, however, can go out and mate with the females whenever the breeding season is on the rise.
It is easy to propagate the population of possums in the laboratory as well for research purposes. The male possum and female possum can be made to mate with one another after which their offspring are taken care of.
Possums (1952), by Carl G. Hartman