Kingdom: Animals
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Marsupialia
Family: 22
Species: 292


Range: Coastal areas of southeastern Australia, Tasmania; introduced to South Island of New Zealand
Habitat: Open forests and the forest edge
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Macropus rufogriseus

The single tiny young wallaby, born after a gestation period of only 30 days, weighs less than 1/30 of an ounce. It is about the size of a raisin. At birth, the tongue, nostrils, forelimbs, and digits are well developed. The baby wallaby crawls to the mother’s pouch, without any assistance from her, where it will stay for five months. It probably finds its way by sense of smell. We have four red-necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) at Scovill Zoo. You can find them near the train depot. In the wild, wallabies eat grass, fruit, and seeds. Here at the zoo, they eat dry food in the morning, followed by grass during the day, and vegetables in the afternoon.


Gray Short-tailed Opossum
Range: South America Brazil and adjoining countries of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Chile
Habitat: They live in forested areas, living most of their lives in trees.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Monodelphis domestica

Unlike most marsupials, the female short-tailed opossum does not have a pouch. The mother will spend the majority of her time in the nest, with the babies attached to a teat. At around 4 weeks of age, the young will begin to wander, only around the nest at first. When the mother leaves the nest, the babies will cling onto the mother’s back and ride around with her. They have a fully prehensile tail and are completely solitary nocturnal animals. They have opposable toes; on their hind feet they have a big toe that is opposable like the human thumb. STOs have pads on their feet and toes that enable them to climb up smooth surfaces, such as glass. First marsupial to have their full genome sequenced. Used for a lot of research often called Laboratory STO. They have 50 teeth contained in their triangle shaped jaw. When frightened, they may show their teeth. Since STOs do not have good eyesight, they have excellent senses of smell, and hearing making them sensitive to sound. They are omnivorous, eating a variety of insects, fruits and vegetable matter.

Shrek and Fiona, our 2 opossums were born in September 13, 2013 and brought to Scovill Zoo in December 2013 to be part of our ambassador animal collection.

Difference between a Possum and an Opossum
Opossums are found only in North America, although there is a “water possum”, also known as the yapok, which is found in central and South America. True possums are found in New Guinea, Australia (including Tasmania), Sulawesi (Indonesia) and a few other small islands in the Pacific region. Although not native to New Zealand, the brush-tailed possum was introduced into that country over a century ago and has subsequently become a pest. The North American Opossum has a bare tail. All varieties of Australian possums have furry tails.