Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Tommy
Opossums are furry little marsupials found throughout the United States, but they may not be found in every state!
Opossums can be found in many states in the United States, especially in the eastern areas of the country. However, opossums have also made their way to other states, such as California. As for countries, opossums can also be found in southeastern Canada, Central America, and more.
Opossums are unique animals, so where are they exactly? Are they also found in Australia or Europe?
Join us at Floofmania as we take an in-depth look at where opossums are found in the United States, Africa, Europe, and more!
In Which Of The US States Are There Opossums?
Table of Contents
- 1 In Which Of The US States Are There Opossums?
- 2 Are There Only Opossums In The US?
- 3 Where Are There Most Opossums?
- 4 Are There States In The US That Don’t Have Opossums?
- 5 What Kind Of Opossums Are In The US?
- 6 Are There Opossums In Canada?
- 7 Can Opossums Be Found In South America?
- 8 Are There Opossums In Europe?
- 9 Do Opossums Live In Africa?
- 10 Does Australia Have Any Opossums?
- 11 Have Opossums Been Introduced To Any Countries or States Where They Don’t Belong?
- 12 Why Are Opossums Considered Invasive Species In Some Places?
- 13 Are Opossums Beneficial Animals To Have In Some Places?
- 14 Author
Opossums haven’t been reported to live in every US state. Based on the information we have gathered, however, opossums are said to be throughout Central America.
The states we have found say that they have opossums beginning with Texas up to Nebraska. Additionally, opossums cross throughout the coast from New England to Florida.
Opossums are fond of exploring though, and they have even been spotted along Washington and California!
As such, here is a list of states where you are most likely to find opossums:
- Oklahoma (OK) – Opossums can easily be found in Oklahoma, where they like to find roadkill to eat.
- Nebraska (NE) – There are opossums in Nebraska, and they are most commonly spotted in eastern Nebraska.
- Kansas (KS) – You can find opossums within Kansas.
- Texas (TX) – There are opossums within Texas, and you can find them throughout the state!
- New Mexico (NM) – Opossums are found in New Mexico, especially in Albuquerque and Sante Fe.
- Colorado (CO) – Opossums do live in Colorado, where they are within both the wild and more suburban areas.
- Arizona (ARI) – While there are opossums in Arizona, they are mostly only found in the southern parts of Arizona, which will be near Tucson and going toward the Mexican border.
- Utah (UT) – There are opossums in Utah, and you can easily find them in Salt Lake City.
- California (CA) – While they are not native to California, there are many opossums in California since they were introduced back in 1920.
- Nevada (NV) – Similar to California, opossums are not native to California but can be found throughout the state.
- Oregon (OR) – There are opossums in Oregon, but the Virginia opossum is considered an invasive species in this state.
- Washington (WAS) – While not found in higher elevations, there are a lot of opossums in the western areas of the state.
- Missouri (MO) – Opossums are common in Missouri, and you can find them in both suburban and city areas of the state.
- Arkansas (AR) – There are opossums in Arkansas, and they can be found in both urban and rural areas.
- Louisiana (LA) – Opossums are very common in Louisiana, which has caused them to be considered nuisances.
- Tennessee (TN) – You can find opossums all throughout Tennessee.
- Mississippi (MS) – Similar to Tennessee, opossums are found all over Mississippi.
- Alabama (AL) – There are opossums in Alabama, and they are fairly common in the state.
- Georgia (GA) – Native to Georgia, there are Virginia opossums in Georgia.
- Florida (FL) – Being the only marsupials in Florida, the Virginia opossum is very common in urban areas of Florida.
- North Carolina (NC) – You can find opossums in all three regions of North Carolina.
- South Carolina (SC) – Similar to North Carolina, there are opossums in nearly every county of South Carolina.
- Virginia (VA) – As you can guess from the name, the Virginia opossum can be found in all parts of Virginia.
- Pennsylvania (PA) – Opossums are common in Pennsylvania, especially in wooded areas like forests.
- New York (NY) – Opossums are native to New York, and they can be found all over the state.
- Maine (ME) – There are opossums in Maine, but they are mostly spotted in the southern areas of the state.
Since opossums can be sly creatures, it is safe to assume that they can be found in more states than what we listed above! They simply have not been spotted yet.
Are There Only Opossums In The US?
There are opossums found in other countries, but they are only found throughout the Americas and southeastern Canada.
Generally, opossums populate south to eastern Central America, southeastern Canada, and the eastern United States.
Where Are There Most Opossums?
In the United States, opossums are the most prolific in the eastern states, such as New York.
While New York may seem like an odd place for opossums to live, they are very adaptable animals. They thrive in New York’s urban districts since they can easily access garbage cans in the state.
Here is an example of an opossum found in a garbage can looking for food:
As for other countries, opossums are common in Central America and southeastern Canada.
Learn more about where opossums like to live in our other article, The Opossum’s Habitat!
Are There States In The US That Don’t Have Opossums?
Normally, opossums are only found as far as Nebraska in the US so some states that would not have opossums include:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
What Kind Of Opossums Are In The US?
There is only one kind of opossum in the US, which is the Common opossum, commonly called the Virginia opossum. Notably, they are the only marsupial in North America as well!
While you can find the Virginia opossum going through South America as well, they are more commonly found in the eastern states of the US.
Are There Opossums In Canada?
Similar to the US, there are opossums in Canada and there is only one kind of opossum in Canada, which is the Virginia opossum.
The opossum’s range in Canada is usually in the southernmost regions. You can find opossums in Southern Quebec, the lower Fraser Valley in British Columbia, and south and southeastern Ontario.
Can Opossums Be Found In South America?
There are opossums in South America, and there are over 70 species within the continent! Opossums are fairly prolific throughout South America and can be found in just about every country on the continent.
Commonly found in the northern parts of South America, the Virginia opossum is usually seen in Costa Rica to Mexico.
Going down further in the continent, the bare-tailed woolly opossum can be spotted in northern Venezuela to northeastern and southcentral Brazil. These opossums like to stay in plantations, secondary forests, rainforests, and subtropical forests.
The water opossum or Yapok is another unique opossum found in South America. What makes the water opossum stand out is that it is the only true semiaquatic marsupial!
Due to its semiaquatic lifestyle, water opossums can be seen swimming in lakes, streams, and subtropical rivers from Mexico to Argentina.
Some other species of opossums that you can find in South America include:
- Argentine fat-tailed mouse opossum
- Chestnut-striped opossum
- Heavy-browed mouse opossum
- Brazilian slender opossum
- Short-tailed opossum
- Paraguayan fat-tailed mouse opossum
- Shrew opossum
- Long-nosed short-tailed opossum
Are There Opossums In Europe?
There are no known populations of opossums in Europe. Opossums are only native to the Americas, which include Canada, the United States, and South America.
However, there is the chance that opossums are pets in some people’s homes in Europe, but they were brought there by the owners, breeders, etc.
Of course, this will depend on if a country allows opossums to be pets and whether or not they were legally brought there.
For instance, some people own possums (which are not the same as opossums, but are also marsupials) in the UK without needing a license.
On the other hand, countries like Germany will have much stricter laws about owning wild and non-native animals. The German Customs office allows a specific list of animals to be brought to Germany, and that list does not include opossums.
Do Opossums Live In Africa?
Opossums do not live in Africa. In fact, there are no marsupials in Africa at all! Marsupials are only present in North and South America, Australia, and some islands nearby Australia like New Guinea.
While some studies have shown marsupials were once present in Africa, none currently reside on the continent.
The reason why marsupials are only seen in the Americas, Australia, and neighboring islands of Australia was because of Pangea and evolution.
Initially, marsupials evolved in South America over 100 million years ago. During this time, Antarctica, Australia, and South America were connected as a single large continent.
Eventually, Antarctica and Australia moved away from South America as the single continent divided, creating the isolated continents we know today.
As such, some animals would remain on the continent, which is why opossums and possums are found on these continents. They would not appear in continents like Africa or most parts of Asia.
Does Australia Have Any Opossums?
There are no opossums in Australia because opossums are only native to North and South America. Instead, Australia has possums.
Keep in mind that possums and opossums are completely different animals!
While possums and opossums are both marsupials, they are differentiated by their tails. Opossums have bare tails while possums have furry tails.
A good example of a possum with a furry tail is the common brushtail possum!
It is also worth noting why the two animals get very easily confused. Other than having similar names, people in the United States use the names possum and opossum interchangeably since there is only one kind of opossum and no possums in the United States. But, that does not mean it is correct to do so!
Have Opossums Been Introduced To Any Countries or States Where They Don’t Belong?
So far, there are no records of opossums being in countries where they do not belong. However, some states in the United States will have invasive opossums because opossums will not be native to all states.
Invasive species refer to any animal that is not native to a given area but was introduced there. Once an invasive species enters an area, it will use up a lot of the resources that the native wildlife would use. Moreover, they can easily over-populate an area because the invasive species would have no natural predators.
Despite being native to the Americas, opossums do not belong in every area of the Americas, especially if they were brought there by humans.
For instance, Oregon has classified opossums as an invasive species. This is because opossums were brought to Oregon by humans sometime between 1910-1921 to become pets.
Opossums can easily live in areas they are not native to because of their adaptability. While they are foragers that love to eat insects, grains, and fruit, they can also eat out of compost piles, trash cans, etc. That is how they became so prolific in unfamiliar states like Oregon.
Why Are Opossums Considered Invasive Species In Some Places?
The main reason why opossums are considered invasive is that they ruin the ecosystem in places that they are not native to.
Native mammals that would have similar diets to an opossum could struggle if an opossum is around their territory. Opossums will use up their resources of habitat and food, leaving the native animals little to no options for survival.
Similar to Oregon, California also has had an issue with opossums being invasive since opossums were introduced in the early 1900s. California is home to many other foraging mammals, such as squirrels, that will lack food because of opossums.
Other than damaging the balance of wildlife, some people will simply call opossums invasive because they may be pests.
Opossums are known for going through people’s trash cans, compost piles, and even pet food bowls. Due to these nuisances, many people will label opossums “pests” or “invasive” even if the opossum is native to their area.
You can learn more about opossums are considered invasive species in our other article, Are Opossums Pests?
Are Opossums Beneficial Animals To Have In Some Places?
Given that they are native to a specific area, opossums can be excellent for an ecosystem.
For instance, opossums may be tagged as fighters against Lyme disease because they eat ticks, which are carriers of Lyme disease.
Similarly, they can clean up pests and other unwanted messes. Opossums are known for eating insects like cockroaches and even dead animals.
Some gardeners also appreciate opossums because of their pest management skills. Opossums can eat slugs and snails that would otherwise ruin their plants.
However, this does not mean that an opossum should be introduced to new areas for these sole purposes.
Usually, there are already native animals within areas that can easily do the job of an opossum. If a person were to add opossums to a new area, the opossums would make it harder for the other animals to survive in their natural habitats.
Author: Allison Marie Dinglasan
Hello! I am Allison, an avid writer for 6 years with a deep interest in animals since I was a child. I grew up on Animal Planet and animal books and often did rescue work for stray and sickly cats, dogs, and birds in my area, which led to over 60 rescues. My future goal is to be a veterinarian to have a more hands-on approach to helping and learning about animals!