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Why Are Opossums Always Finding Their Way Into Urban Areas Of Georgia? How Far Can The Animals Travel In The State?

March 8th, 2019

Opossums do not get as much love as raccoons, probably because raccoons are commonly perceived as adorable, while opossums are commonly viewed as monstrous and ugly creatures. However, this is only the common perception among people living within the United States as a whole. When focusing on the public attitudes toward opossums within the state of Georgia, most people will agree that the animals enjoy a uniquely positive reputation in the state, though maybe not for reasons that would be expected.

The Virginia opossum is a native of Georgia, and the animals have a rich cultural history within the state, as opossums were once a popular source of meat, and they are still hunted and consumed in the state today. Although opossums exist in most states within the US, the marsupials are particularly abundant within Georgia where they are often spotted wandering into urban areas at night. Opossums are capable of thriving within many different habitats, making them relatively well-suited for urban life. Opossums that exist outside of urban and suburban regions seem to prefer heavily wooded habitats that contain bodies of water. While opossums are not considered territorial animals, researchers have found that opossums maintain a “home range” consisting of around 350 acres. A “home range” is a term that refers to the area that a particular animal will traverse over a period of time. During breeding season, opossums expand their home range to a whopping 785 acres. A female opossum’s home range consists of around 160 acres per year.

According to one study that traced opossum movements with radio technology, opossums travel exclusively at night, and usually change their den locations daily. At night, opossums can travel as far as two miles in search of food. Opossums often traverse a distance of 1,685 meters in between dens. Considering the long distances that opossums travel on a regular  basis, it is no wonder why new opossums are constantly appearing in urban areas of Georgia.

Have you ever hunted opossum? Is opossum hunting a strong tradition in your family and/or home region?

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