Do Possums Eat Snakes [Some Interesting Facts]

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Believe me or not, Possums are your friends. They are best at saving you from the snakes that lurk in your backyard. Now you must be wondering “Are these big rats good for something? Are they predators to snakes? Do Possums eat snakes?” To your surprise, yes, it’s all true!

Possums are known to eat snakes and can digest them easily. It is all because Possums are immune to the venom of the majority of snake species. For food, Possums don’t only rely on snakes. They only choose to hunt snakes if they are easy to catch or are found dead.

Do you know you will find no more snakes near your home once you have possums around? The idea that possums eat snakes isn’t a new concept; it’s a well-known fact. If you want to learn more about the potential interaction between snakes and possums, here you go!

Do Possums Hunt Snakes?

Possums are efficient predators of many creepy crawlers like spiders, worms, lizards, and snakes. In fact, in some states possums are even considered a natural method of pest control specifically when it comes to getting protection from ticks and snakes.

Possums usually don’t go after snakes because they don’t like to be on the lookout for food all of the time. They have a lot of dietary options because they are omnivorous scavengers.

So when their stomachs are full, the crawling snakes and spiders don’t attract them. They prefer to feed on road-kill rather than hunting a rodent or snake for food.

However, if there aren’t enough suitable food options, then possums jump into the ground without any fear and show their hunting talents to their fullest. They are not just born to fight snakes but have mastered the art of killing, devouring, and easily digesting these deadly creatures.

They have sharp teeth to rip open the snake’s skin and kill them by ripping out their insides. So no wonders people call them “snake-hunters” sometimes!

Do Possums Eat Poisonous Snakes?

Snakes are always seen as a threat and a source of fear for all other organisms because they possess a devastating weapon, snake venom.

However, there is a creature that is not known to be threatened by even the lethal rattlesnakes, and that creature is none other than the Possum.

Possums have no fear of poisonous snakes because they are immune to the venom that snakes use to kill their prey. During an encounter when snake poison fails to work on possums, the snake eventually loses the struggle and the possums enjoy their victory feast.

Although certain snake species like a cobra (Elapidae family), have different chemicals (neuro-toxins) in their venoms that can’t be resisted by possums and can lead them to death.

Is Possum Immune To Snake Venom?

Sharon Jansa and Robert Voss, mammalogists, have released a study on a Possum’s serum protein which explains the opossum’s venom resistance trait.

Pit vipers like rattlesnakes and water moccasins have venom that targets the blood coagulation mechanism which leads to internal hemorrhage; one of the most distressing complications caused by a snake bite. 

Jansa and Voss investigated the emergence of a venom-targeted clotting protein known as von Willebrand Factor (vWF), across the whole Didelphidae family of opossums.

Studies have revealed that from the evolutionary beginnings, the vWF of snake-eating opossum species has acquired more alterations than the vWF of possums that don’t eat snakes.

Natural selection has been acting on vWF for millions of years, and there is adequate proof for it. Jansa and Voss identified many distinct alterations in snake-eating opossums and discovered that they are linked to an area of vWF reported to associate with one of the poisons found in pit viper venom.

Is Opossum Serum Used For Making Snake Antivenom?

Researchers have discovered that a peptide present in Possum’s blood could be crucial in combating the consequences of snakebites around the world.

Experiments have proved that anti-venom drugs based on a protein found in opossum blood could provide the cheapest, natural cure for snake-bite sufferers.

Possums have built-in resistance against several snake venoms. According to the research publication of B.V.Lipps, LTNF (Lethal Toxin Neutralizing Factor) is a protein that is found in Possum’s serum.

LTNP is a natural antidote to fatal venoms and toxins produced by a variety of microbes, plants, and animals that enables Possums to become immune against the lethal poison of snakes and other organisms. 

Do Possums Prefer To Eat Snakes?

It’s a truth that Possums never hesitate to attack, kill and eat a snake. However, keep in mind they are not fussy eaters. Being lazy omnivores, they are known to eat almost everything that is easily available.

Whether there are ripening fruits spilled in your garden or a chance to get their hands on carrion, these slow-moving critters would rather search for ready-to-eat food than expend their energy in a long process of chasing and hunting a snake to satisfy their hunger.

They only demonstrate their hunting skills when they are in desperate need of food and there are no easy and adequate food options around.

Do Possums Eat Dead Snakes?

They are widely known for being scavengers. They accomplish their cleaner’s duty in an environment by cleaning debris and feasting on carcasses and carrion.

That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if you see a possum eating a dead snake. In fact, Possum considers it a better option than exhausting himself by chasing and hunting an alive snake.

Are Snakes Afraid Of Possums?

Whenever there is a need, hunting even a poisonous snake never makes a big deal for possums. Their resistance against snake venom gives them the confidence to fearlessly hunt and devour a snake.

Possums are recognized as a threat by the majority of snakes, particularly smaller ones like garter snakes and water moccasins.

Snakes are afraid of possums because of their immunity against venom, thus they avoid regions where they can smell their presence.

If you are living in a region with a variety of snakes, then a possum’s presence is no less than a blessing. Snakes are sophisticated creatures that can easily identify the presence of their adversaries in their immediate surroundings.

Most snakes are aware that possums have great resilience to snake venom, making them difficult to beat or kill. That’s why, for their safety, their innate inclination tells them to stay away from possums.

What Defenses Do Snakes Have?

Do you believe that shooting venom into the predator’s body is snake’s only protection mechanism? What about snakes who are powerless because their poison doesn’t work on other animals, just like possums?

The fact is in addition to venom, snakes frequently use defensive signals and postures to warn predators away.

The majority of snakes used to hiss, that is a scary sound they use to threaten other creatures.

Rattlesnakes are notorious for vibrating their tails and generating a rattling noise to ward off predators.

Few species like Gartersnakes emit a musky odor when they detect danger. An unpleasant odor will alert a predator or a nearby enemy, causing them to lose interest in the snake.

Some non-poisonous snakes imitate poisonous snakes to fool their predators.

Protective measures consume energy that could have been better spent elsewhere, such as in search of food. That’s why if the snake finds a possibility to escape without expending much of its energy, it will prefer to swiftly crawl away from its predator and save its life.

Are Possums Scared Of Snakes?

Possums don’t always prey upon snakes, but can also be preyed upon by larger snake species. That’s why not all snakes are terrified of possums.

Possums are effective at repelling smaller snakes such as copperheads and rattlers.

However, they can also be a source of attracting larger snakes towards them such as King cobras and Pythons. Possums serve as a good source of meal for them and are unable to defend themselves against these massive beasts.

Certain snake species are also known to pose a serious threat to possums. Possums are most likely to be harmed by the venom of Elapid and Coral snakes that can harm the possum’s nervous system.

Possums are very well aware of the species they cannot overcome and are scared of them. That’s why you won’t see possums going after these creepy snakes all the time.

These lazy creatures don’t pick their prey randomly. Instead, they are smart enough to choose their battles wisely.

Are Opossums Good To Have Around?

Possums are beneficial to have around if you have snakes in your surroundings. You might not like them because of their fierce looks that make you scared or because they create a mess in your yard.

But in actuality, possums are good at eliminating snakes out of your yard, especially if you live on the eastern side of the country. They help to keep snakes at bay because Possums are one of the most effective predators of snakes.

They can kill and consume even the deadliest snakes without fear because of being resistant against the majority of snake venom.

Possums have a bad reputation for being “pests” since they are known to damage crops, eat garden fruits, and mate with poultry. However, Possums aren’t that much harm to humans.

They do provide benefits in terms of keeping your home and yard secure from pests such as ticks and snakes, which can cause significant damage to the property belonging to humans.

Conclusion

The Possum is one of the most unappreciated and misunderstood animals on our planet Earth. Despite making our surroundings safe by consuming everything from ticks to snakes, these clever critters are rarely being appreciated for working as free pest control agents.

On the other hand, Possums’ blood contains a natural anti-venom component that protects them against snake bites. Opossum blood peptides are used as an inexpensive and efficient remedy for snakebite sufferers.

In comparison to the mess Possums create, their benefit of keeping harmful pests away and producing antidote against snake venom always takes dominance and proves them to be one of the best helpful creatures we have on the globe.

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