Didelphis virginiana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Didelphimorphia Didelphidae

Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana Kerr, 1792
Common Name(s):
English Virginia Opossum
French Sarigue de Virginie

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-08-05
Assessor(s): Pérez-Hernandez, R., Lew, D. & Solari, S.
Reviewer(s): Martin, G.M. & Teta, P.
A widespread and common species throughout its range, this species is adaptable to human dominated landscapes. Although hunted or trapped locally for food, sport and as predators of poultry, apparently the species has not been adversely affected by human settlement, in fact its range appears to be expanding. Commercial hunting for the fur trade does not appear to have much impact.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in Central America, from Costa Rica to Mexico and in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and north into southwestern Ontario, Canada (the northernmost locality reached by a marsupial). Some introduced populations are also found along the west coast of the United States and recently into British Columbia (Canada). Their range, limited by winter temperatures and snow depth, appears to be expanding northwards (Gardner 2005). This species can be found from lowlands to 3,000 m (Reid 1997).
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Canada (Ontario); Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; United States
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:D. virginiana is common and widespread throughout its known range.
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in a variety of habitats, ranging from relatively arid to mesic environments. They prefer wet areas, however, especially woodlands and thickets near streams and swamps. Also in suburban areas. The opportunistic denning and feeding habits of the Virginia opossum has led to the success of the species, especially in areas of habitat fragmentation. High reproductive potential further contributes to increasing population size (McManus 1974). Abandoned burrows, buildings, hollow logs, and tree cavities are generally used for den sites.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Although opossums were once important in the fur trade, this activity has apparently had little impact on the species' population (Whitaker Jr. and Hamilton Jr., 1998).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species. Opossums are hunted and trapped for food and fur in certain areas of their range, but the mortality is mostly caused by collision with motor vehicles (Gardner 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no specific measures in place to protect the Virginia opposum, as it likely occurs in a number of protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Pérez-Hernandez, R., Lew, D. & Solari, S. 2016. Didelphis virginiana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T40502A22176259. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided