7 Fun Facts About Possums & Opossums
Possums & opossums are cute little nocturnal creatures that can be found across the USA as well as other places.
They typically aren’t aggressive unlike other wildlife animals, but they can spread disease to humans.
Note: in the USA possums & opossums are used interchangeably, but in other countries they are two different animals. We are writing about American possums.
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- Possums Have Several Immunities
Possums are immune to some illness & even snake venom. Rabies for example is a common virus that spreads through wildlife animals, but possums aren’t likely at all to have it.
In fact, wild dogs are 8 times more likely to carry rabies than possums! This is much better than raccoons, which are considered a “rabies vector species” (they’re likely to transmit rabies).
Possums are also fully or partially immune to most types of snake venom, which is fascinating considering that snakes rely heavily on their venom to capture prey.
- Possums are VERY Smart
While they don’t at first appear intelligent, possums are actually quite smart.
First they have a remarkable ability to locate food & remember where it is. When tested for their memory, possums scored better than rats, rabbits, cats, and yes, even dogs!
Second they can find their way through a maze faster than both rats and cats.
This is very impressive considering how small these creatures are. They have no problem finding or remembering food!
- Possums Play Dead… Not Intentionally
When scared, possums will first try to hiss, pee, poop, etc. to scare the predator off.
If all else fails, they will play dead. They then release a foul smell from their butt & mouth which has actually been proven to deter predators from them.
If you’ve ever smelled a possum playing dead, you would know that it isn’t pleasant at all!
However, playing dead isn’t something they do consciously. It is an automatic response that happens when they’re scared.
Even after the threat is gone, possums can remain “frozen” playing dead for hours.
- Possums & Opossums
Possums & opossums are technically two different animals, but in the USA they refer to the same animal.
- They Can Hang From Their Tails
It’s not a myth- possums can actually hang from tree branches using their tails! They can also carry things with their tails while crawling around.
However, contrary to the popular myth, they don’t sleep like that or stay like that for too long because it consumes quite a bit of energy.
- Possums Are Larger Than Most Rodents
Possums are larger than rodents like rats. They typically prefer to be in the wild, however sometimes they still infest people’s homes.
They are smaller than typical dogs though, so these animals are between the two sizes.
- Possum Infestations
During the Winter months possum infestations happen in the USA because they’re trying to keep warm somewhere!
They will often try sneak in between the walls, under the home, or even get in the attic.
Unfortunately they often pass away because they get trapped or lost, or they can spread disease, and finally they also leave waste which can damage your home.
If you think that you have a wildlife problem or would like to ask us some questions, give us a call at 855-WILDLIFE now!
Thanks so much for reading,
-Wildlife x Team International