What Eats Possums: [There Predators]

What Eats Possums

If you are in the south, particularly Virginia, you’ve likely seen a dead possum or two beside the road. You probably didn’t think twice about it or didn’t care much because your under the impression that the creatures can be quite the pest.

Most folks regard them as pests when they come lurking around the yard at night, but the truth of the matter is that these are one of the most misunderstood creatures in the animal kingdom.

Contrary to popular belief, have a possum or two around the yard can be beneficial in more ways than one.

That being said, these creatures do give off a jarring and unsettling feeling, especially when you shine your light right in their eyes and it makes the most terrifying reflection, but you’d be surprised at just how much they are helping you by being around.

They not only kill thousands of ticks, but they can help with waste management as well. In addition to this, they don’t tear up your property like many would have you believe.

Combine this with the fact that they eliminate garden pests and their blood is used in many snakebite antidotes, you are truly looking at one handy creature.

They’re also actually a lot smarter than people give them credit for, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t fall prey to certain animals. They do, and if you want to help the possum population, you’ll need to know exactly what animals pose them the biggest threat.

Possums And Their Natural Predators

What Eats Possums

Despite what you might believe, possums are fairly small creatures. Even when fully grown they only reach the size of an average house cat. Given this information, you’d think they fall prey to a lot of animals. This isn’t actually the case at all.

The adult possums can fall prey to large owls, foxes, coyotes, wolves, and bobcats, while the baby possum can fall prey to the same creatures and more. The baby possum can be preyed on by everything from stray cats to various birds. And, this is because they only start at about the size of an average rat.

The mother possum does a fairly good job of tending to and protecting her young. However, she has so many that it becomes hard to keep track of them all. In fact, she usually starts with a litter of 13 or more!

Not only this, but these baby possums spend the first portion of their life in a pouch. From here, they will adhere to their mother’s back for another portion of their life. By the time the drop off their mother, they are still fairly small, similar to that of a rat.

They are also very inexperienced and green because everything has virtually been done for them.

[Related Article: What Eats Bears]

How Possums Deal With Predators

So, you just learned that possums have far fewer predators than most people would think. This is probably due to the fact that they do have very interesting ways of dealing with predators when they approach. They have razor-sharp teeth, sharp claws, and a head for knowledge.

Despite the fact that they are commonly getting killed by passenger automobiles, these creatures are really smart. This is especially true when it comes to fending for their life.

You’ve likely heard someone use the phrase play dead. Well, this came from the possum because they have the natural ability to play dead. Possums are extremely smart and more than equipped to deal with animals much larger than them.

This is not to say that they can’t be outsmarted or conquered by smaller animals because they can. In fact, one of the biggest threats to the possum is the owl. That being said, it is probably the human that is the biggest threat to the possum species.

Combine automobiles with common traps, poisons, and guns, and it is probably more than easy to see how humans pose the biggest threat to possums.

And, given the fact that most humans are under the impression that these creatures are dangerous and a nuisance, they are only going to try to prevent them from coming onto their property.

Luckily, humans and possum rarely come into contact with each other because possums are nocturnal. They prefer to do their business during the late hours of the night, away from the prying eyes of humans.

[Related Article: What Eats Rabbits]

Not Aggressive And Immune To Rabies

One of the biggest misconceptions that surfaces with possums are their aggressive behavior. Most people believe these animals to be extremely aggressive.

There is no denying that they will fend their family and land when necessary, but they usually try to avoid conflict at all costs. This is why they coined the phrase playing dead.

They’ll play dead for hours while emitting foul smells to further deter their attackers before they engage in a fight.

They may also snarl and show their teeth, but it would be an extremely rare occurrence for them to actually attack. These are all just defense mechanisms that they have developed over the years to help keep them alive.

Along with all of this, these creatures, unlike most other wild animals, are nearly immune to contracting rabies or passing it along.

This is not to say that they never have, but it is to say that it is extremely rare if they do. Scientists have contributed this to their natural body temperature.

Their body temperature is just so naturally low that it doesn’t provide an ideal living environment for rabies. Pretty interesting when you sit down and think about it.


After reading this it probably goes without saying that your entire perspective on possums has changed. And, it should have! Possums, although commonly ran over by passenger vehicles, are actually rather adept and smart.

Not only this, but they aren’t particularly known for destroying yards, lawn furniture, and gardens. Sure, they’ll poop everywhere, get in your trash, and leave a mess, but they will no cause irreparable damage like a lot of other wild creatures out there.

Recent Content