Antemortem skeletal lesions were analyzed in 61 Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) collected as roadkill from Baldwin County, Georgia, USA. As evidenced by bridging fracture calluses, misalignments, bone-surface depressions, perforations, localized superficial calluses, periosteal proliferations, and bony bridges across intervertebral disk spaces, 64% of the individuals had signs of one or more healed injuries. Within the subset of skeletons with bone lesions, 54% had healed rib fractures and 23% had scapular, 21% pelvic, 18% fibular, 18% vertebral, 13% dentary, 10% tibial, and 10% podial lesions. Bone lesions occurred most frequently in the cranial portion of the skeletons and averaged approximately four per individual. The majority of the skeletal injuries appeared to be inconsistent with those caused by falls or automobile collisions. The nature and position of the bone lesions suggested that nonfatal predator attacks, possibly from domestic dogs, may be a significant contributor to bodily injury in this species.
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