This is a type of opossum, familiar to just about anyone who lives in North America:
This is a type of possum, familiar to those who live in Australia/ New Zealand:
|From The Internet|
Now, to be fair, you can consider both "possum" and "opossum" to be family terms, meaning there are many species of each. I suppose the easiest way to divide them is into Eastern and Western hemisphere varieties, the possum being found in the Eastern hemisphere and the opossum being found in the Western.
Both are marsupials, meaning they give live birth to premature young who crawl into Mom's pouch and finish their development there. One just happens to be a lot... scarier looking than the other.
I've worked with both. Opossums hiss, which can be off-putting, and they have teeth like some vicious predator, which can be off-putting. They have naked tails and black eyes and one of the ones I worked with had a skin condition that meant it was balding which was VERY off-putting. But they were still cool little creatures. (The one with the possum-pattern-baldness had been hit by a car and was un-releasable. She walked mostly in circles, but was very affectionate).
Possums are some of the cutest creatures on this entire planet. My beloved sugar gliders are a variety of possum and there's also a creature called a little pygmy possum that I INSTANTLY knew I would love as soon as I heard the name. I mean LOOK! Just-- LOOK!!!
But to be fair, possums also have teeth like some kind of vicious predator (some people affectionately refer to sugar gliders as "flying staple guns"), they have the same black eyes, and sugar gliders make this noise called crabbing which basically sounds like someone murdering a duck. Loudly. So it's not all fun and games, even if their little faces do melt my heart.
There you have it. Now go forth and share.