Woolly Opossums are smaller than the common opossum with a longer slender body. They have thick, ‘woolly’ hair which is a greyish/reddish color. Their tail has fur about halfway up and then is naked with different pigments.
Taxonomy: (Caluromys derbianus)
Spanish Name: Zorro de balsa
Other Common Names: Derby's Woolly Opossum
Conservation Status: Least concern
Lifespan: While their lifespan in the wild is not known for sure, they have been known to live up to 5-6 years in captivity.
Distribution: From southeastern Mexico to Columbia and Ecuador. There are subspecies that are defined by their range.
Habitat: Deciduous and moist evergreen forests.
Behavior: From southeastern Mexico to Columbia and Ecuador. There are subspecies that are defined by their range.
Weight: Between 200-400 grams
Diet: Woolly opossums are omnivores, eating mainly insects and small invertebrates, fruits, seeds, flower parts, and possibly carrion (decaying meat). They also eat pepper vines and the nectar of the balsa tree, from where they derive their Spanish name.
Reproduction: Generally polygynous, males will compete for females, but much of their mating behavior remains a mystery. Gestation is about 21 days, longer than many other opossum species (13 days) and the offspring are weaned and independent around 4 months. Young are generally sexually mature at 7-9 months.
Threats: Deforestation is a threat, but they do have a large range that will help maintain their populations. They are preyed upon by ocelots, margays, and jaguarundis.