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The animal on the cover of ActionScript Cookbook is a crab-eating opossum (Philander opossum). It can be found throughout Mexico, Central America, and South America. The length of the animal can vary, though it is usually between 250 and 350 millimeters. Its prehensile tail often grows to about the same length.
P. opossum is an omnivore. It eats insects, lizards, eggs, worms, frogs, small mammals, and birds, along with seeds, bananas, and leaves. It reproduces all year round, though the number of offspring varies. During the dry summer months when food is scarce, the litters can be as low as one or two young, while as many as seven young can be born during the more plentiful rainy season.
Most opossum nests are built in the low branches of trees, though they can also be found on the ground or in burrows. P. opossum spends most of its time on the forest floor, where it forages for food, though it will occasionally take to the trees. It was once thought that P. opossum was nocturnal, but it has often been observed scampering and foraging during the day. When it senses danger, P. opossum will hiss or yelp, and it can be a capable fighter.
Matt Hutchinson was the production editor and copyeditor for the ActionScript Cookbook. Reg Aubry, ...