Are Opossums Blind [Some Scientific Facts]

Spread the love

Opossums are also known as possums. They sleep through the day and are awake at night like raccoons. There are many myths about their habits and physical abilities. One of such misconceptions most asked about is; are opossums blind?

Despite the common assumption, opossums are not blind at all. They have terrible vision during the day due to dilated pupils. That allows them to see more clearly in the dark. Opossums have dark pupils. Therefore, many people believe that they are blind.

Clear eyesight at night helps them locate food and shelter. Read the complete article to find more detail about the opossum’s vision.

Opossums Vision
Opossums Vision

Can Opossums See During The Day?  

Opossums can see during the day. However, their vision is weak in the light due to their dilated pupils.

They are not active during the day hours and will stay inside as the weak eyesight during the day makes it impossible for them to hunt. The dilated pupil helps them see in the dark during the night. 

Where Do Opossums Go During The Day?

Generally, opossums rest during the day inside dens. They build their home in dark corners like hollow tree trunks, abandoned caves, burrows, buildings, and underbrush piles. They are nocturnal and will come out of their den at night.

A possum prefers living alone and will probably avoid other possums until it is the breeding season. The breeding season for possums begins in late October. In some circumstances, opossums do come out of their hiding during the day.

You might find a possum lying around in the street playing dead. If you find possum during the day, it is better to leave it alone.

Can Possums See In The Light?

Possums cannot see in the light. Therefore, they avoid coming out of their den during the daylight.

Their eyes glow during the sharp light, such as the light coming from the cars. Therefore, many people assume that the possums are blind.

The anatomy of the possum’s eye explains its glowing in the light.

They have the reflective layer in the upper retina called tapetum lucidum, responsible for the glow. This phenomenon of light reflection enables them to see in the dark, and their vision drastically improves at night. 

Can Possums Hear Or See?

Contrary to popular belief, possums can hear and see. They have poor eyesight during the day due to dilated pupils and reflective layers but the eyesight increases at night or in the dark.

They can hear too, but their hearing ability is limited. Fortunately, they have sensitive olfactory receptors.

Therefore, they mainly depend on their sense of smell to hunt for food and avoid predators. Astonishingly enough but the noise of an oscillating fan can scare them away.

What Kind Of Vision Do Opossums Have?

Opossums have weak vision or keen night vision. They cannot see clearly during the day, but their eyesight gets better at night; this phenomenon is called keen night vision.

Opossums need to see clearly at night as they rest during the day and are active at night. Some researchers also believe that opossums find it difficult to differentiate colors. 

After birth, opossums are blind for two to three months. During this time, they stay within the mother’s pouch. The baby’s opossums depend on a sense of smell to locate their mother.

How Do Opossums See?

Opossums are not blind. They cannot see clearly during the day due to dark and dilated pupils.

Opossums also have a reflective layer that makes it difficult to see in the light. As they are nocturnal, their vision becomes better in the dark.

The dilated pupil and reflective layer enable them to see clearly at night. 

Do Possums Go Out Every Night?

Possums are nocturnal. Therefore, they are active at night and sleep during the day. Weak eyesight during the day makes it impossible for them to search for food in the light.

Opossums will come out at night and search for food, mate, or maybe shelter. They move at least a distance of fifty meters near the nest to search for food.

It is better to leave them alone if you find them playing dead during the day. 

What Time Of Night Is Opossums Most Active?

Opossums are active at night. They are awake from dusk to dawn. During these hours, you can hear them making noise, climbing trees, searching for food, and building a nest. 

Typically, they come out as soon as sunset, at 6 pm. At night their vision drastically increases compared to the day.

Around 8 am, as the sun begins to come out, they will leave to rest inside the dens as they cannot see pretty much anything in light.

Why Would An Opossum Be Out In The Daytime?

Opossums are mostly nocturnal, which means they are active at night. However, it is not uncommon to find them during the day, especially in cold weather.

Opossums will also come out on a day when they are starving. When there are fewer food sources, they will spend most of their time searching for food instead of sleeping inside the nest.

You might also find them roaming around in the light when they are disturbed from their sleep or forced removed from the nest. 

What Is A Possum’s Vision Like?

Possums have sharp night vision and weak day vision. They cannot see things clearly in the light. For this reason, they avoid going out during day hours to search for food. 

Possums are dependent on their olfactory receptors and sense of touch for hunting. Thankfully, they have a sharp sense of smell and can identify fruits, vegetables, animals, insects, and predators. 

What Color Are Possums’ Eyes?

Possums are smart animals but have a weak vision in the light. They have large dark green eyes that appear black.

Opossums’ eyes look large due to the dilated pupil that ensures clear vision at night. At night in automobile light or torchlight, you might notice their eyes reflect a red color. 

Why Do Possums Go Cross-eyed?

Heidi, adorable and enthusiastic, a two-and-a-half-year-old possum, caught the eye of many people at Leipzig Zoo. Heidi and her sister, Naira, were not on display until May 2010 and were cared for in Valeria H. Schindler wildlife rehabilitation center.

When placed on show at Leipzig Zoo, she made many new fans. Heidi appeared normal and healthy but had crossed the eye, which made many fans wonder about her medical condition. 

Possums have cross eyes, and their eyes appear bulging due to fat deposition. It is more prominent in obese possums. It causes no pain or harm to their eye receptors and does not affect their visual function. 

Do Possum Eyes Glow?

Possum’s eyes glow in the light, due to which many people assume that they are blind. Possums have a reflective layer in the upper retina of the eyes.

The layer; is called tapetum lucidum. It helps possums see better at night by reflecting the light into the eyes. This layer is the reason for the weak day vision of the possums. 

Are Opossums Blind In Daylight?

Opossums are not blind in daylight. They have weak vision due to dilated pupils and reflective layers. These features make it impossible for them to see clearly in the light.

Opossums are nocturnal animals. They are awake at night, searching for food and shelter. At night their vision gets better, and they can see things more clearly.

Thus, opossums avoid coming out of their nest in daylight. If they have to come out during the day, they will play dead.

How Good Is A Possum’s Eyesight?

Despite the common assumption, possums are really not blind. They have poor eyesight during the day, which makes it impossible for them to come out or go for a hunt during daylight hours.

Opossums are nocturnal and will avoid coming out during the day. They have diluted people and reflective layers that assist them to see more clearly at night. 

What Kind Of Vision Do Opossums Have?

Possums have keen night vision, but they have terrible general or day vision. They cannot see clearly during the day. At night their eyesight gets better.

Due to this reason, they do not totally depend on their eyes for food hunts. Instead, they rely upon their sense of smell. Additionally, opossums cannot differentiate the colors.

Hunt for food will be impossible for them without sensitive olfactory receptors.

Other Senses of Opossums

Opossums’ senses are well-developed, especially the sense of taste and smell. However, their hearing strength could be better. Usually, the possums are good at sniffing the air to judge the presence of food in their surroundings. Possums only eat once their senses have confirmed the food as being edible. 

Research by BMC genomics has revealed that possums have 1,188 genes allocated for the sense of smell. In comparison, tasting and hearing are much less developed. When it comes to touch, the possums feel their way around the things they hold. Opossums prefer eating snails, slugs, small insects, and fruits and seeds.


Opposite to what many believe, opossums are not blind. They have weak vision in light due to dilated pupils and reflective layers. Therefore, they cannot see during the day. 

Opossums are nocturnal. They are awake from dusk to dawn and sleep during the day. Their eyesight increases or gets better in the dark. The reflective layer and dilated pupil help them search for food and avoid predators. 

It is not entirely impossible to find opossums during the day. When there is scarce food, especially in winter, they go on the hunt during the day. If you find opossums wandering around day or night, it is better to leave them alone.


Leave a Comment