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How Far Will a Possum Travel to Return Home?

Possums are fascinating creatures known for their adaptability and unique behaviors. One of the most intriguing aspects of possums is their ability to travel long distances to return to their homes. In this article, we will explore the remarkable journeys possums undertake to find their way back and answer some frequently asked questions about this behavior.

Possums, scientifically known as Didelphimorphia, are marsupials native to Australia. They are nocturnal animals with excellent climbing abilities and a strong sense of smell. When a possum is displaced from its home, whether due to human interference or natural causes, it will do whatever it takes to find its way back.

These remarkable creatures possess a homing instinct that enables them to navigate through unfamiliar terrains and travel impressive distances. While the exact range of a possum’s journey can vary depending on several factors, studies have shown that they can travel up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) to return to their original habitat.


1. How do possums navigate such long distances?
Possums rely on their sense of smell and an internal compass to navigate their way back home. They often follow scent trails they have left behind or use landmarks to guide them.

2. Do possums always find their way back home?
Possums have a remarkable ability to find their way back home, but it is not guaranteed. Factors such as habitat destruction, changes in their environment, or the presence of predators can hinder their return.

3. How long does it take for a possum to return home?
The time it takes for a possum to return home can vary depending on the distance and the obstacles it encounters. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or even months.

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4. What happens if a possum cannot find its way back?
If a possum cannot find its way back home, it will try to establish a new territory in a suitable environment. However, this can be challenging, and the chances of survival decrease without familiar resources and shelter.

5. Can possums travel long distances through urban areas?
Possums are highly adaptable and can navigate through a variety of environments, including urban areas. However, they face increased risks such as traffic and human interference in these settings.

6. How do possums know which direction to travel?
Possums have an innate ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field, allowing them to determine which direction they should travel. This magnetic sense helps them maintain a sense of direction even in unfamiliar territories.

7. Are possums territorial animals?
Yes, possums are territorial animals, and they have a strong attachment to their homes. They mark their territories with scent and use established routes to move between their nesting sites and food sources.

In conclusion, the homing instinct of possums is a remarkable phenomenon. These resilient creatures can travel impressive distances, often up to 6 miles, to return to their original habitat. They rely on their keen sense of smell and an internal compass to navigate unfamiliar territories. While they have a high success rate in finding their way back, various factors can hinder their return. It is crucial to respect and preserve their natural habitats to ensure the survival of these fascinating creatures.