An adult opossum is 2 to 3 feet long and weighs between 4 and 12 pounds. It has an elongated snout, a pink nose, black eyes, and prominent, naked black ears. Its head is usually white and its coarse body fur is mostly grayish white but tends to be darker on its legs. Its naked, scaly tail is able to wrap around and grasp limbs and can support the animal's full weight for short periods.
An opossum is primarily nocturnal (active at night) but may become diurnal (active during daylight hours) during cold weather. An opossum does not hibernate, but remains inactive for short periods during severe winter weather. It must forage on a regular basis, even during extreme weather conditions, so don't leave pet food out where it could have access.
An opossum is a very slow runner and will try to escape predators by climbing the nearest tree. When cornered on the ground, it initially exhibits a threatening posture, hissing, and making low growls. If attacked, it generally lies very still as if paralyzed or dead, a habit called "playing possum".