Possums Invade Canada, Population Growing Rapidly

The Virginia possums, a creature native to the central United States, has been spreading northward for decades and has established a foothold in Canada. Possums, the only marsupial native to North America, can now be found in southern Ontario and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, having migrated from the United States.

Possums are especially widespread on Hornby Island, BC. They were first seen there in 1986 and their population grew rapidly because of a lack of competition from native species. Over 600 possums were trapped on Hornby Island in 1988. There is some concern that the possum population will spread from Hornby to nearby Vancouver, but this has not yet happened.

Is It Possum or Is It Opossum?

Possums are unlikely to penetrate farther north into Canada because they have difficulty surviving severe cold winters. While possums are not as dangerous to the ecosystem as some other invasive species, they do sometimes carry rabies, they damage local plant and animal life, and they can be a nuisance to homeowners as they eat garbage and crawl into houses.

Possums Invade Canada, Population Growing Rapidly
Possums Invade Canada, Population Growing Rapidly

Sean is a London (Ontario) based writer, and has been writing full-time for eCanadNow since May of 2005, covering Canadian topics and world issues. Since 2009, Sean has been the lead editor for eCanadaNow. Prior to his work writing and editing for the eCanadaNow, he worked as a freelancer for several Canadian newspapers.. You can contact Sean at {Sean at ecanadanow.com]
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12 thoughts on “Possums Invade Canada, Population Growing Rapidly

  1. Opossums have been in BC as long as I can remember. ran one over near Cultus Lake BC just after getting by drivers license in 1971. certainly not a recent arrival.

  2. I was always under the impression that Possums had been brough North when people moved to Washington State / Fraser Valley area who were orginally from the Central US, and brought them as a food source, for along the way… or maybe it’s just a good storey….

  3. I am a thinkin’ a bit of BBQ sauce on them hind quarters then plant that with peppers and taters all on a spit over your basic fire pit…mighty fine eats.

    Who is bringing the beer?

  4. They have been moving Northward on their own for decades – not exactly an invasive species by usual definitions. The photo on this page isn’t even the correct species!

  5. I live in Toronto and have seen a few possums. The last one I saw was huge and looked like it was hit by a truck. Was kinda weird to seen a possum, but hey, they can’t be as bad as other pests, can they?

  6. Wonder if the Virginia Possum can be used for fibre or fur – like the invasive Brushtail possum in New Zealand?

  7. I believe this is what has been running around my backyard here in Ottawa, Ontario. It looks just like the picture.

  8. they can be quite viscious also. My sister had one in her wall under her sink at a house she rented in St.Catherines about 10 yrs. ago. It was nasty and I wouldn’t dare wrestle with him so I smoked the varment out . Possum stew, not likely…. not into eating nasty looking rat critters….. rather be a vegan thank you very much !

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