The first thing that strikes in everybody’s mind is, which one is correct, possum or opossum? Notably, both opossum and possum are correct to pronounce. Possum is a general term, but opossum is a technical or scientific term. What do possums eat? Does this question also arise in your mind? That’s probably the reason you are here to read this article.
From a total of 60 species of possum, Virginia possum is the most common. However, this animal is usually considered as a dirty hunter, but it comes with some positive features too. They have a fantastic ability to remember the place where they find food. They are ranked higher than rabbits, rats, cats, and dogs in this ability. To know much more facts and features of possums, we will move further to describe their origin.
Table of Contents
What’s the origin of possums?
Possums are mainly found in the Northern, Southern, and Central areas of America. The Virginia opossum is the one and only species that are primarily found in Canada and the United States. But, some other species of opossum are found in the south of the United States. The Virginia opossum is mostly found in the wooded areas, though they can survive in almost every condition. Talking about other species of possums, they are found in shrubland, forest, rainforest, mangrove, etc. Moreover, opossums are found to be moving to the Northern parts in recent years.
This animal can survive in different conditions and locations due to its flexible diet. Opossums are active mostly at night only. They are a relative of Kangaroo but are slower as compared to them. Opossums are usually nomadic; that means they can stay in one place till food and water are available to them.
Facts to know about possums
Let’s know some intriguing facts about opossums.
- Smart creatures
It’s fascinating that possums rank higher than rats, cats, rabbits, and dogs in remembering its way. Moreover, they are more intelligent to keep a memory of the places where they find food.
- Relative of Kangaroo
Yes, Opossums are a relative of kangaroos. Although they are much slower than them, they carry their young ones in their pouch the same as kangaroos do. Male possums do not involve themselves in raising their young ones; only the female ones do this.
- Opossums are omnivores
The normal diet of opossums includes carrion, snakes, rodents, insects, snails, eggs, birds, plants, fruits, frogs, and grains. In addition to this, opossums can also swallow pet food and human food.
- Long tails
Opossums have grasping tails that work just like hands; they use them to grasp things. Their tails are almost equal to the length of their body. Their hairless tails help them to balance. Opossums can hang with the use of their tails just like monkeys but not for such long periods.
- Natural Immunity
It’s not the fact that opossums carry diseases. They can also fight the deadly virus rabies due to their low body temperature. When comparing with other animals such as bats, skunks, and racoons, data says that opossums transmit rabies less than these creatures. In addition, possums are born with a different ability to tolerate poisons when stung by scorpions and bees. In addition to this, they can tolerate snake venom.
- Free pest control
What do possums eat? Since their diet consists of snails, beetles, ants, slugs, they can find their food in a garden. They help clean up the sources of pests as they eat rotten fruits and vegetables.
Possums’ diet- What do possums eat?
So, if this question arises in your mind, what do possums eat? Here is the answer. Opossums can eat everything, be it dead or alive. A regular diet of possums include mice, rats, cockroaches, spiders, slugs, insects, frogs, snails, and much more. These creatures can help you get rid of all the pests in your wonderful garden.
Possums eat plants and weeds.
Every gardener wants to get rid of the weeds in the garden. Possums will happily enjoy eating weeds. Also, they include decayed plants in their diet, which can be beneficial for a gardener who wants to get rid of all these.
Possums eat Insects
Possums also have some advantages. Opossums love to eat slugs, cockroaches, spiders, snails and many more insects. You can quickly clear out the bugs with the free help of possums. So Possums basically eat anything, whether it is alive or dead.
Opossums eat Rattlesnakes
Isn’t it interesting to know that possums can even eat the most dangerous snakes found in the USA? Yes, they can eat rattlesnakes, and there is no harm to them after eating snakes. It is because they are born with a natural immunity that can avoid the effect of poisons inside their body.
For this reason, scientists have found that they can develop anti-venom for humans.
What more can possums eat?
Opossums eat garbage
Generally, you can consider possums as garbage disposals too. What’s there in your trash? It may be decayed leaves, food scraps, and everything in your trash; possums love to eat it. Although it is beneficial for you that you are getting a free garbage disposal, it can be too messy.
Thus, it is necessary to keep your garbage in a way that possums cannot access it.
Pet food is also there in the possum diet
So, ask yourself a question. Have you ever experienced that you put some food for your pets and it disappears suddenly? No doubt, the pet food attracted the possums. And, they rush towards it to swallow it as soon as possible. As dietary requirements of possums are very high, they consume almost everything. So, this can be a warning for you that possums have come to your place.
Are possums dangerous?
Possums are particularly dangerous in the sense that they can destroy anything deadly or live for their dietary needs. From digging your beautiful lawns to destroying birds nests, possums can do anything. Using their sharp teeth, they can go deep inside your garden and also can bite if they feel threatened.
It’s a fact that they are responsible for spreading rabies as their lifestyle looks like that. But possums rarely carry and transmit disease. However, you need to drive away possums if they come as they can spread other diseases. It may include tularemia, leptospirosis, and tuberculosis. Often they play possum; that is, they act like they are dead to abstain from the threatening creatures.
How to prevent possums?
Are you also sick of possums in your lovely garden? Thus, there is a need to avert them in any case as they can cause severe damage. To prevent possums, you can follow these tips:
- Remove rotten fruits and vegetables as soon as possible.
- Store the trash in sealed bins.
- Offer pet foods to your pets inside at night. The reason being possums are mostly active at night.
- To avoid the nest from destroying, cut off the hanging branches as possums are skilled climbers.
- Use fences around your garden to prevent the entry of possums.
- If you do not seal your bins, avoid adding food to the compost bin.
In case all these measures don’t come out, you can take help from professional pest controllers.
Answers to all your questions
Are Possums threatening?
Opossums are not really dangerous until they go deep down your garden to find food. Whenever other animals threaten them, they act like they are dead, which is generally called playing possum.
Do they carry diseases?
Other than other bats, racoons, and skunks, there are fewer chances of spreading diseases through possums. Opossums do not carry rabies, as due to their low body temperature, the virus gets killed.
Do they eat ticks?
Data says that Opossums can eat 5,000 ticks whenever the season of ticks comes. It also helps to build their immunity more and combat diseases like Lyme, fever, etc.
Do they carry their young ones in their pouch?
Opossum babies named joeys; they are about the size of a bee when they are born. When born, they crawl into their mother’s pouch and continue developing there. As the babies grow older, the mother carries them on her back for approx. one hundred days until they are ready to live on their own.
Are they blind?
Although they are slow-moving animals, Possums are not blind. Instead, their pupil widens in the dark that helps them to see in the dark.
Can opossums be pets?
Despite being non-aggressive, harmless creatures, opossums cannot be pets. The reason behind this is their high dietary requirements.
Conclusion about what do possums eat.
Opossums are referred to as garbage disposals, free pest control. They can eat anything, alive or dead, almost similar to racoons. They can kill 95% of ticks in the ticks season as well as eat other pests like rats, cockroaches, mice absolutely free. However, they have this ability to be a pest control but are not suitable for being a pet. So it was all about what do possums eat. This article has covered all the facts and information related to possums. Hope you got to know everything you came here for.