Captain John Smith, a leader of the Jamestown Colony, is widely credited with naming the opossum.
Supposedly, Captain Smith came across an opossum while in the company of a member of the Algonquin Tribe. When Smith asked the man what this strange looking animal was called, his companion told him it was an “aposum.” The Native American name referred to the long-tailed animal’s white face. However, as luck would have it, as the man uttered the word “aposum” he grunted. This led Captain Smith to believe he said possum. Is this story true? We may never know for sure. What I do know is the opossum is indeed an odd animal.