Can Opossums Swim? Facts & Abilities

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Usually, the animals that can swim are termed aquatic. The adaptations that help them survive in a marine environment. Many land animals are capable of swimming well; however, can opossums swim? 

Opossums are excellent swimmers. However, they do not swim unless they have to. They also do not like doing it regularly. Moreover, a possum has a limit for swimming. 

This article will review what specific adaptations have enabled the opossums to swim and how they can survive well in both inland and aquatic environments. 


Do Opossums Go In Water?

Do Opossums Go In Water

Rodents are usually water-repellant. They do not prefer water or even coming near them. However, possums can bear the presence of water, but they will also gladly enter a water body. 

This is because a possum knows how to swim. It does not get scared by the presence of water. A possum is skilled and will travel a short distance to capture a fish as food. 

Do Opossums Like To Swim?

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Yes, opossums like to swim but only when they cannot find food on the land. Opossums do swim, but they tire out quickly. If they keep swimming for too long, they will drown as their little bodies cannot withstand the pressure and waves of the water. 

Can Opossums Swim Underwater?

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Opossums are excellent swimmers, and this can be backed up by evidence. People who reside in areas where the possum population prevails might notice the population of fish decreasing in their ponds.

This is due to the presence of opossums. A possum will gladly dive into the pool to grab a fish or two! A possum will keep swimming and searching for seafood till it gets tired.

Can Opossums Breathe Underwater?

Although Opossums do not have very long stamina to stay underwater like fish, they try to manage their time well. A possum can dive and travel up to 15 feet without emerging to the surface for breathing. 

However, it is not long before a possum gets tired of paddling its little paws in the water and will try to come out to a land surface. It would not matter to a possum whether it has gathered enough food for itself or not. 

Swimming Possum 

This is not a commonly observed behavior showcased by the opossums, but rather it is a need-of-the-hour behavior. Opossums usually come out at night and search for food in the forests they reside in. 

A possum will prefer to enter a residential area, live in an attic, and look for food rather than dive into a water body. Though a pond or a pool is a good food source for opossums, it is not ideal or preferable.

How Do Opossums Swim?

Opossums Swim

A possum swims in a manner most associated with that of a horse. It floats in the following way:

  • A possum uses the front and hind legs on one side to propel itself forward
  • Then it uses the portions of the other side, making an alternate pattern to move forward through the water 
  • A possum’s tail moves side to side, just like a rudder. 
  • This is how they stabilize their momentum through the water bodies.

Do Opossums Swim In Pools?


Yes, a possum is capable of swimming in a pool. Pools are more accessible for a possum as they can reach them easily. Also, a collection is a reservoir of small water animals that the possum can easily feed on.

It is also convenient for a possum to enter and leave a pool whenever it wants. Moreover, a possum does not tire out while swimming in a shallow pool. 

Do Opossums Swim In Ponds?


A pond offers more food to a possum than a pool ever will. That is why if a possum resides near a pond, it will return to it, again and again, to look for fish. 

A pond is the shallowest near the edges, so a possum will try its best to get hold of a fish from there as well. However, it will do so if it feels the need to dive in. 

Can Brushtail Opossums Swim?

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The possum species and its relation to swimming do not matter much as swimming is an innate behavior of a possum. Every possum knows how to move its body well-coordinated to move forward. 

The ringtail’s opossums can also swim well in any water body. However, any possum does not like staying in a water body for long and wants to come out as soon as it has finished finding a meal. 

Do Opossums Eat Fish?


Yes, opossums consume fish. If they are not finding sufficient food for themselves on the land, they tend to dive into the water for a quick look around. 

Many opossums succeed in catching a fish for themselves. Opossums have sharp teeth and can rip through the scales and body of a fish for consumption.

 A fascinating fact about opossums is that they can even chew through a sheet of aluminum—opossums like hunting and looking for a live fish for consumption. 

Do Opossums Eat Salmon?


 For a possum, seafood is going to be on the menu. Besides feeding on salmon fish, a possum also consumes seafood like crayfish and frogs. 

Another interesting behavior depicted by a possum is feeding on the remnants of a fish that a raccoon or some other animals have left. This way, a raccoon saves its own energy from diving and looking for food inside the sea. 

Do Opossums Eat Fish From Ponds?

Fish From Ponds

For a possum, eating seafood from a pond is relatively more straightforward. This is because ponds are shallow water bodies, and a possum has no fear of drowning. 

A sea or a lake is deeper as compared to a pond. Also, a possum will not be able to swim for a long distance. It may drown if it does not reach any nearest land destination timely.

Does Animal Control Remove Opossums?

One can get rid of opossums from the pond and a pool by simply acting on the following steps:

  • Opossums are tempted to drink water, and if there is no way that a possum can get out quickly due to deep water, eventually a possum will die on its own 
  • A skimmer can be used to fish out a possum. If it is out of reach, you can put on latex or rubber gloves. A possum can then be disposed off, as per animal regulations.
  • Chlorine can be added to a pool or a pond. The chlorine contact time should be 9,600 at least. This means 20 parts per million chlorine should be added. Next, you should wait for about 8 hours for it to remain effective. The water should be tested again and again for chlorine levels. 
  • The water should be in the pools be replaced as per the recommendation of the public health department. In a month, it should be done thrice. 
  • The filters should be turned on, and a pH of 7.6 to 7.8 should be maintained.
  • The pool should be disinfected with a skimmer coupled with a filtration system. A mixture of water and sodium hypochlorite should be used for disinfection. 


Opossums are adept at swimming and will continue to do so till they have reached their limit or have found what they were looking for.

 Although a possum can swim very well, still it a priority is to rely on food sources that are available on the land rather than swimming through water to have a bite.

People who spot opossums in their ponds, they use to make use chemicals to cleanse their ponds of opossums. Moreover, they should install good filtration systems to look out for a possum.


Centre for Disease Control and Prevention