Greetings from Gizmo

He loves hard boiled eggs!
He enjoys being challenged by a good puzzle!
He is a beloved member of the Virginia Aquarium family!

If you did not get a chance to meet him before we closed, let us formally introduce you to Gizmo! Gizmo is a Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana).

Gizmo is a marsupial. Marsupials are mammals that give birth to partially developed babies that continue to mature in a specialized pouch. The kangaroo of Australia is likely the most well-known marsupial. However, Gizmo is especially wonderful as he is an opossum ambassador representing the only remaining marsupial species native to North America!

Opossums, like Gizmo, are primarily nocturnal, being more active at night than during the day. They are opportunistic omnivores, and like most of us, enjoy a wide range of foods. Most opossums don't mind trying a taste of whatever might be available. Opossums have been known to consume as many as 5,000 ticks in a year! This fact alone makes them vitally important. A unique physical trait of opossums, like Gizmo, is their prehensile tail. His tail can act like a fifth limb helping him brace when climbing or can be used to carry things like leaves for bedding.

Gizmo does not have a set appearance schedule here at the Aquarium, but like most of our animal ambassadors we hope that when we reopen, he occasionally will be out to meet our guests. When schools reopen, he may also visit classrooms around the area while educators share about these amazing animals and the roles that we play in sharing the world in which they live.

When we reopen, and you can visit the Virginia Aquarium again, keep your eye out for Gizmo. He just might be out and about. In the meantime, watch for glimpses of his antics on our social media. And be nice to his opossum friends that may be living in your backyard. They're wonderful little animals.