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What Do Possums Eat? - Everything to Know About Possums

mama possum with babies on back up in tree

Possums are among them and they are known to make a mess of garbage, pilfer the food in bird feeders or pet food, or even attack poultry, game birds, and their nests. Today, we at Pest Control Technicians, Inc would like to expound a little more on possums.

Possum Identification

Possums, or opossums, are about the size of a house cat, reaching up to 40 inches in length and where they can weigh up to 14 pounds, the average male weighs 6-7 pounds and average female weighs about four pounds. They have a rat-like tail that is slightly less than half the total length. These mammals are whitish or grayish in color and have long, pointy faces and rounded hairless ears.

Are Possums a Type of Rodent?

Though most people say they resemble a rat, possums are actually marsupials, the only one in North America, and are related to the kangaroo and koala. With more teeth than any other land mammal, and a prehensile tail, or a tail that hold or grip, possums have plenty of advantages. Though their tail can help stabilize their climbing attributes, they do not hang from trees. Their tail is not strong enough to hold the adult body, but babies can do so for a short time frame.

Are Possums a Nuisance Wildlife Pest?

Not necessarily nocturnal, possums are most active at night and are not generally aggressive, although they have been known to attack people in the past. For defensive purposes, they will hiss or growl as a warning, but typically avoid confrontation. Many would consider possums beneficial by keeping the environment healthy and clean as they eat roaches, rats, and dead animals. Some will reference them as “Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineers”. But when these critters dig into the trash cans, others have a different view.

Possums Playing Dead

Possums are known for their comical displays of “playing dead”, an involuntary response, when they are unable to run away or unable to frighten a potential threat. During their performance, they will secrete a foul smell from their anal glands, foam at the mouth, and become comatose; not even moving when being carried or prodded. Most attackers will walk away and within a few minutes to a few hours, they will regain consciousness.

Where Do Possums Live & What Do they Eat?

Though once originally native to the eastern area of the U.S. they have spread out and reached the western regions when food was scarce. They are very adaptable and can live in most habitats but prefer the wooded lands. As long as they have food and water sources and shelter, they can manage. Shelters include stumps, rock piles, abandoned burrows, hollow trees, and will venture into attics. An opossum’s diet includes dead animals, frogs, birds, ground eggs, snakes, snail, slugs, moles, over-ripe fruit, berries, vegetables, grasses, and leaves, as well as garbage.

Wildlife Control & Removal

Though not all possums are carriers, some can have rabies and other diseases. If you have been stricken with possums invading your property or home, call Pest Control Technicians, Inc for wildlife removal and let our professionals relieve you of the infestation.

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