Derby’s Woolly Opossum, Caluromys derbianus

Derby’s woolly opossum (Caluromys derbianus), also known as the Central American woolly opossum, can be found in Central America. Its range includes Colombia, Belize, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Although its range extends across many areas, it is not widely distributed.  It prefers habitats in lowland and highland rain forests at altitudes of up to 8,500 feet.

Derby’s woolly opossum can weigh between 7.1 and 14 ounces, with the prehensile tail comprising nearly half the body length. Its fur varies depending upon location, but it is typical to see a dark stripe extending from the tip of the nose to the top of the head.

Derby’s woolly opossum becomes sexually mature at seven to nine months of age. There is no distinct mating season for the species as a whole, but in some areas, these opossums are able to mate year round while others can only mate from January to July.  Each litter can contain between three and six young, and these young will remain in their mother’s pouch until they are old enough to emerge.

The eating habits of this species in the wild have not been well studied, but it is omnivorous. It is threatened by habitat loss within its range, specifically from deforestation. Derby’s woolly opossum appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern”.

Image Caption: Derby’s Woolly Opossum, Caluromys derbianus. Credit: Johann Christianus Daniel von Schreber/Wikipedia