"Possum" refers to the marsupial species of the Phalangeridae family native to Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea and other islands in the region. The term "opossum" refers to the only marsupial native to Canada and the United States.
While each of the nocturnal omnivores live on diets of insects, birds, frogs, fruits, insects and snakes, and are known to "play dead" when threatened, there are some notable differences. While the Australian possum possesses a furry tail, the opossum is known for its signature bare tail. Additionally, while white versions of these animals are known to exist, the opossum tends to be a darker grey in color.