Virginia Opossum

Virginia Opossum

Virginia opossums were once considered nomadic, but are now known to keep oval-shaped home ranges, with males keeping larger ranges than females.

It is very difficult to estimate Virginian opossum home range due to their excessive movement. Virginia opossums were once considered a nomadic species, but more recent research has shown that an individual maintains a fairly constant home range throughout their lifespan.

The home range kept by Virginia opossums varies greatly. This may depend on their range, their habitat, the availability of resources, and their gender. The home ranges are more often oval-shaped, rather than circular, and often overlap with a water source.

In general, their home range size is thought to be about 12.5 to 38.8 hectares. Females generally have a smaller home range than males. Males are believed to keep larger home ranges because their reproductive success is based solely on their ability to find mates, whereas female success is based on the accessibility of food items.

One study provided a home range of approximately 11.5 acres, but that is only an estimation. A study conducted in Georgia found that home range size may be between 7.2 to 94.4 hectares and a study in Texas found home range sizes from 0.12 to 23.47 hectares. Likewise, home range sizes in urban environments averaged 18.8 hectares for females and 37.3 hectares for males. ion.

Sources: (Allen, Marchinton, & MacLentz, 1985; Gehrt, Clark, & Fritzell, 1997; Gipson & Kamler, 2001; Harmon, et al., 2005; McManus, 1974; Wilemon, 2008; Wright, Burt, & Jackson, 2012)
Image: Kara Jones


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