Rural or urban? Where do opossums prefer living?

Living in an urban area in North America, you’ve probably already seen an opossum around your neighborhood. In fact, you might have even had one invade your home in the past and have had the chance to look at this animal up close. You might have thought to yourself if this animal is such a pest here that means it probably isn’t well suited to this environment. Maybe all these would be better off in the world, right? Well, as far as opossums are concerned, urban environments are the best places for opossums to thrive. For once, human activity is encouraging the growth of wildlife! Seriously though, there are many reasons why opossums are better to live in the city than in some woodland shrub.

A plentiful supply of food
Opossums are omnivores, meaning they can eat almost anything that has any nutritional value. And thanks to humans, there always seems to be plenty of food around, from trash cans loaded with food free for the taking to kitchen pantries that can be raided for highly rewarding returns. They’re not even picky eaters, so you can be sure they’d enjoy the broccoli and carrots you threw away in the trash when your mom wasn’t looking.

Lack of predators
Another way opossums benefit from having humans around is the fact that they no longer have to worry about predators like coyotes, wolves and other such animals; how often do you see these animals roaming the streets of a city? Almost never, which is something opossums take immense advantage of. Sure, they do still face a threat from us, but compared to being regularly being hunted by larger animals for food, we’re not a bad deal.

So many places to call home
In cities, we build our houses tall and strong, so that they may shelter us from the cruel forces of nature that exist outside it. So, it’s not surprising when an animal like an opossum that sees our cozy little retreat is immediately attracted to it and proceeds to make its place in our house, often at our expense. Even if it’s later evicted, there are so many places it can take shelter instead: in parks, in narrow streets, inside trash cans, a burrow in the sidewalk. A big city is often described as a land of opportunity, and apparently, that holds true for opossums the same way it holds true for us.

The exception to the rule
Now that’s not to say opossums don’t live in rural or wild areas at all. In fact, their thick fur and broad pallet mean they can survive almost anywhere in the world. But even in rural areas where they do live, they tend to nest closer to humans, in places like farms or villages. After all, we provide them with easy food, and they’d be stupid not to take advantage of that.

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