By by J. E. Webb and J. H. Elgood.

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Some of these occur westward in the region only approximately to the margins of continuous hardwood forest, whereas others have pushed westward onto the prairies as dendritic segments along the major eastward­flowing river systems.  By carefully reading the distribution and habitat section of each species account, it is possible to place most mammals into one of these two assemblages, although there are several species that fit into both categories.  As a result of land­clearing operations in timbered regions, many open­land species have extended their distributions in recent times.

The opossum walks with the entire foot — heel, sole, and toes — resting on the ground.  Movement is practically negligible below a temperature of ­7° C, but opossums do not hibernate.  Home ranges are typically elongate instead of circular and often follow water courses, with considerable overlap among different individuals.  Opossums are highly opportunistic feeders, which undoubtedly contributes to their success.  The male straddles the female, clasping her hind legs with his hind feet and her nape with his jaws.

By carefully reading the distribution and habitat section of each species account, it is possible to place most mammals into one of these two assemblages, although there are several species that fit into both categories.  As a result of land­clearing operations in timbered regions, many open­land species have extended their distributions in recent times.  Across this vegetational gradient there is a gradual depletion of grassland and desert faunal elements and a concomitant increase in forest­dwelling mammals.

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