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New World Opossums: Didelphimorphia

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, New World Opossums And People, Virginia Opossum (didelphis Virginiana): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, CONSERVATION STATUS


In a very general sense, the Didelphidae can be said to inhabit both New World continents, from southeastern Canada to southern South America, but the common or Virginia opossum is the only marsupial making its home in the continental U.S. and Canada. All other species of Didelphidae range across Mexico, Central, and South America, from northern Mexico to southern Patagonia in South America, and on some of the Lesser Antilles Islands.

The Virginia opossum inhabits the widest range of habitats of any New World opossum, being found over most of the continental United States and southeastern Canada, in forest, grassland, and desert. The other species variously inhabit tropical and subtropical forests, and a few, like the Patagonian opossum, inhabit temperate grasslands in South America. The dryland mouse opossum prefers desert-like conditions in Central America.

Out of all the Didelphidae species, the IUCN lists three as Critically Endangered (facing an extremely high risk of extinction), three as Endangered (facing a very high risk of extinction), fifteen as Vulnerable (facing a high risk of extinction), and eighteen as Near Threatened (close to becoming threatened with extinction).

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Animal Life ResourceMammals