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What Is A Group Of Possums Called?

What Is A Group Of Possums Called?

By Mildred T Koerner on May 16, 2023

Hey there, fellow possum enthusiasts!

Have you ever wondered what a group of these marsupials is called?

Well, as a possum expert and researcher, I'm here to provide you with the answer.

Firstly, let's clarify that we're talking about North American opossums (Didelphis virginiana), not Australian possums.

Now, when it comes to their collective noun, the common term used for a group of possums is actually 'passel.'

This word may sound unfamiliar to some of you, but don't worry - it's just an old-fashioned slang term that means 'a large number or quantity.'

So next time you come across a bunch of possums scurrying around together in your backyard or on a nature hike, remember that they are known as a passel.

But wait, there's more! Keep reading to learn even more fascinating facts about these unique creatures.

North American Opossums Vs. Australian Possums

There is a common misconception that possums are all the same, but in reality, there are distinct differences between North American opossums and Australian possums.

While they share some similarities, such as their nocturnal nature and omnivorous diet, their habitats and behaviors differ greatly.

North American opossums can be found throughout the United States and Mexico in a variety of habitats including forests, farmland, and urban areas.

They are known for their ability to climb trees using their prehensile tails and opposable thumbs on their back feet.

In contrast, Australian possums primarily inhabit forested areas across Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.

They have adapted to arboreal life by developing grasping fingers and toes with flattened tips for a better grip on tree branches.

Additionally, while both species play dead when threatened (a behavior called 'playing possum'), North American opossums do so more readily than Australian possums who rely more heavily on camouflage to avoid danger.

Understanding these differences helps us better appreciate the unique adaptations each species has developed to survive in its respective environment.

As we delve deeper into the world of possums, it's important to note that they often live in groups or families referred to as 'passels'.

But what exactly constitutes a passel?

Let's find out.

What Is A Passel?

As we discussed earlier, there are two main types of possums: North American opossums and Australian possums.

But regardless of their geographic location, they all share one thing in common - the need to gather in groups for safety and survival.

So what do you call a group of these furry critters? While there are several collective nouns used to describe possums, such as a 'clowder' or a 'tribe,' perhaps the most commonly known is a 'passel.'

But where did this term come from? The origin of the word 'passel' can be traced back to Middle English, where it was originally used to refer to a large quantity or amount.

Over time, it evolved into its current meaning as a collective noun for animals.

Interestingly enough, while 'passel' is primarily associated with possums today, it has been used historically to describe other animals like hogs and raccoons.

The Origin Of The Term 'Passel'

As a possum expert, I must say that these creatures never cease to amaze me.

They are fascinating animals with unique physical and behavioral traits that set them apart from other mammals.

One of the most interesting aspects of the possum is their collective noun - 'passel'.

The term has its origins in Southern US culture, where it was used to describe a group or collection of items.

The word 'passel' is believed to have originated from the French word 'parcelle', which means a small portion or piece.

Over time, the term evolved into 'passel', which refers to a group of living things such as possums.

This reflects the close connection between language and culture, and how words can change over time based on social norms and historical events.

As an avid researcher of possum behavior, I find this linguistic evolution fascinating and reflective of our society's ever-changing nature.

It's important to note that while 'passel' may be the most widely recognized collective noun for possums, there are actually several others in use today.

These include 'pouch', 'tribe', and even simply using the plural form of 'possums'.

Each term offers its own unique insight into how we view these creatures and highlights different aspects of their behavior and lifestyle.

In the next section, we will explore some of these alternative collective nouns for possums and what they reveal about our relationship with these remarkable animals.

Other Collective Nouns For Possums

As a possum expert and researcher, I have found that while the term 'possum' is often used to refer specifically to the North American opossum species, it can also be used broadly to describe any of the roughly 70 different species belonging to the family Didelphidae.

While there is no official collective noun for a group of possums, they are sometimes referred to as a 'passel' or a 'scramble.'

Possums in popular culture have been portrayed in both positive and negative lights.

In some indigenous cultures, possums are revered as tricksters and symbols of resourcefulness.

However, in Western media, they are often depicted as dirty scavengers.

Regardless of how possums are perceived by humans, these fascinating animals continue to capture our attention.

It's worth noting that unique collective nouns exist for other animal species such as a murder of crows or an exaltation of larks.

Perhaps one day we will come up with an equally creative name for groups of possums.

Fun facts about North American opossums include their ability to play dead when threatened (a behavior known as playing possum), their immunity to venom from snakes native to their habitat thanks to specialized proteins in their blood, and their tendency towards nomadic lifestyles rather than establishing permanent homes like many other mammals.

Fun Facts About North American Opossums

As a possum expert, I can tell you that North American opossums are fascinating creatures.

These marsupials have been around for millions of years and their unique features make them an important part of the ecosystem.

Opossums as scavengers help to keep our environment clean by eating dead animals and rotting fruit.

One interesting fact about opossums is their lifespan and reproduction.

While they only live up to 2-4 years in the wild, they have impressive reproductive abilities.

Female opossums can give birth to up to 20 babies at once! However, not all of these babies will survive due to predators or other factors.

It's also worth noting that baby opossums are born underdeveloped and must crawl into their mother's pouch where they continue to develop for several months.

In summary, North American opossums play an important role in maintaining our natural world as scavengers.

Despite their short lifespans, they have remarkable reproductive capabilities that allow them to continue thriving in the wild.

If you ever come across one of these amazing creatures, take a moment to appreciate all that they do for us and our environment.


As a possum expert, I can confidently say that the term used to describe a group of these marsupials is 'passel.'

This collective noun applies to both North American opossums and Australian possums, although they are different species with distinct characteristics.

The origin of the word 'passel' is uncertain, but it likely comes from an Old French word meaning 'a pack.'

When you imagine a passel of possums, picture a bundle of fur and tails scurrying along together.

These creatures have unique behaviors and features such as playing dead when threatened or having prehensile tails for grasping branches like extra limbs.

With so much diversity within this animal kingdom, it's fascinating to learn about their habits and quirks.


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