What is the name of the animal we know and love in North America, opossum or possum? It is actually an opossum. The first time it was mentioned in the New World was by Captain John Smith in 1608. He based the name on the Algonquin word ‘apasum’ which means “white animal.” The possum without the “o” is native to Australia. It looks similar to the Virginia opossum, but is more closely related to kangaroos and other Australian marsupials (pouched animals).
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