What Do Possums Eat?
Possums are incredibly clever creatures! They are perfect for climbing vertical walls and can jump from a tree to a roof up to 4 meters away. They can pull off your roof tiles and will squeeze through the small holes. Possums are flexible and inventive. They are not aggressive, but they tend to eat whatever they get. The types of destruction that possums can do is defecating in sheds, attics or house verandas. There are many questions about the possums that must be answered. We will help you here with the knowledge of the feeding habits of possums.
Our blog has guidance about diet and other important things about possums. Possum can eat the diet that is available according to their habitat. We will tell you about the things that are eaten explicitly by the possums and that attract them to your house. Before that, we want you to know some common characteristics of possums. This will help you to understand things better and save you from the hassle of possum removal again and again.
Characteristics Of Possums
- Possums are comfortable in every climate and even live in areas heavily populated with humans.
- Possums are the only kind of mammals that have four fingers and opposable thumbs on their back feet.
- Possums are omnivores and are not picky eaters. Their eating habits involve eating anything they can grab.
- Possums enjoy eating snakes and being immune to snake venom, eat all types.
- Possums choose wooded areas or farmland with water nearby. They are easily adaptable to all surroundings.
- Possums feed after reaching their mother’s pouch. After weaning for two months of their age, the babies stay with their mothers for another month or two. They usually ride on her back.
- Possums are night-loving creatures, though the younger ones can be noticed during the day.
How Possums Hunt and Forage for Food
Possums are opportunistic omnivores, which means they have a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter. They are known for their adaptability and ability to find food in various environments. Here’s how possums hunt and forage for food:
1. Nocturnal Behavior: Possums are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. This behaviour helps them avoid predators and competition for resources, as many of their potential competitors are diurnal (active during the day).
2. Scavenging: Possums are excellent scavengers. They often feed on carrion (dead animals), which provides them with a source of protein. They can locate and consume animals that have been killed by vehicles, predators, or other causes.
3. Hunting Small Prey: While possums are not skilled predators like some other animals, they do hunt small prey such as insects, snails, slugs, and small rodents. They have a keen sense of smell and hearing, which helps them locate these creatures in the dark.
4. Plant Matter: Possums also consume plant matter, including fruits, berries, nuts, and vegetation. They are known to have a particular fondness for fruits and will often raid gardens in search of food.
5. Foraging Techniques: Possums have sharp claws and opposable thumbs on their hind feet that help them grasp and manipulate objects. This adaptation enables them to search through leaves, grass, and debris for insects and other hidden food sources.
6. Opportunistic Eating: Possums are not very picky eaters. They will eat whatever is available to them in their environment. This flexibility in their diet allows them to survive in a variety of habitats, from urban areas to forests.
7. Slow Movement: Possums are not fast runners or agile climbers, which limits their ability to actively chase down prey. Instead, they rely on their senses and patience to locate and capture food.
8. Adaptations: Possums have specialized adaptations to aid in their feeding habits. Their prehensile tails can be used for balance and even hanging from tree branches, allowing them to access food sources that might be out of reach for other animals.
9. Digestive System: Possums have a simple stomach with a relatively short digestive tract. This is suitable for processing a variety of foods, from animal proteins to plant material.
In general, possums are resourceful animals that can make the most of their surroundings to find sustenance. Their diet and foraging habits can vary depending on their habitat, the availability of food, and seasonal changes.
What Do Possums Like To Eat?
- Plants- Possums mostly feed on plants, and the volume of their diet is plant-based. The things that Australian possums eat:
- Leaves- The metabolism of possums is low, so their caloric needs are met with simple plants such as green plum, acacia, red bush apple, and more.
- Fruit- Possums love chewing on some sweet fruits along with leaves. Fruits are more caloric and give them an instant source of energy. Fruits make them overweight and are not a main course for them.
- Vegetables- Possums can also eat some vegetables in small quantities.
- Pests And Insects- Regardless of the image of the possums as cute, harmless and sheltered, still, some species can be very dangerous for eggs, pests and insects near them. For instance, Brushtail possums obtain protein from bird eggs and small lizards. This also includes caterpillars, beetles, and spiders.
What Do Possums Eat When Untamed?
Possums first eat insects. Possums eat beetles, crickets, grasshoppers and cockroaches. Possums are also known as one of the most effective controllers of ticks available. Possums can swallow up to five thousand ticks in one season. This makes them amazing helpers for dealing with ticks.
- Small mammals
- Dead animals
Possums also eat some small animals like rabbits, rats, mice, voles, snakes, frogs, birds, lizards, and fish. In the warmer months, when there is the availability of a variety of animal matter, possums surge their consumption of this food source. Possums also snack on nuts and seeds sometimes.
Food Of Baby Possums
The baby possum is over an inch long at birth. They will immediately seek out their mother’s pouch to nurse. After staying inside for 2.5 months they will have milk only. When the infants come out, they will crawl onto mom’s back. A newborn possum will eat the same diet as an adult during its stay on its mother’s back.
An average baby stays with its mother for 4-5 months. They can take care of themselves at this age. For the babies kept in captivity, powdered milk and later pureed fruits and veggies are given to them. It is very risky to take home a baby possum you notice in the wild; its mother could be nearby.
How Long Do Possums Live?
Possums, specifically the common Brushtail possums found in Australia, have relatively short lifespans in the wild. On average, they typically live around 2 to 4 years. This short lifespan is due to various factors, including predation, accidents, diseases, and harsh environmental conditions. In urban environments, where they face fewer predators and better access to food, their lifespan can sometimes be slightly longer, reaching up to around 4 to 6 years.
In captivity, possums might live a bit longer, often reaching up to 4 to 7 years, with proper care and protection from the hazards they would face in the wild. It’s important to note that these lifespans can vary depending on the species of possum and the specific conditions of their environment.
Possums are opportunistic omnivores with a diverse diet. Their consumption ranges from insects, fruits, and small animals to plants and even human waste. This adaptability underscores their ecological role. Understanding their eating habits is crucial for wildlife conservation and maintaining a balanced ecosystem.