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What Do Possums Eat?

mama possum with babies on back up in tree

Possums are known to make a mess of garbage, steal the food in bird feeders, and even attack poultry, game birds, and their nests. Many people ask, what do possums eat? They're omnivores and opportunistic scavengers, and their diet typically changes depending on the season. They'll eat more insects during the summer and more animals during the winter.  Overall, though possums like to eat:

  • Dead animals 
  • Frogs 
  • Birds 
  • Ground eggs 
  • Snakes
  • Snails
  • Slugs
  • Moles
  • Over-ripe fruit
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Grasses
  • Garbage
  • & more 

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 the average female weighs about four pounds. They have a rat-like tail that is slightly less than half the total length. Possums are whitish or grayish in color and have long, pointy faces and rounded hairless ears.

Are Possums a Type of Rodent?

No, possums are not a type of rodent. Though most people say they resemble a rat, possums are actually marsupials 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 Nocturnal?

Possums are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. However, possums can also be seen during the day. You may see possums out in the daylight scavenging for food. This is particularly true during harsh winters when food is scarce and difficult to locate. Chances are slim that you will encounter possums during the day, but it is possible.

Are Possums Dangerous?

Possums can be dangerous to humans. While they are not generally aggressive, 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. Some possums may also have rabies and other diseases, though not every possum is a carrier.

Where Do Possums Live?

Though once originally native to the eastern area of the U.S. possums have spread out and reached the western regions when food was scarce. Possums are very adaptable and can live in most habitats but prefer 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.

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.

Possum Control & Wildlife Removal

If you have been stricken with possums invading your property or home, call Pest Control Technicians, Inc for pest control in Philadelphia and let our professionals relieve you of the infestation. We offer possum and other wildlife control to keep your home safe!

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