Ever wonder what do possums eat?
Possums can be a terrorist. They can mess with your yard, destroy the garden, and leave the house messy.
Food is the only thing that gets their attention and attracts them to your residence. It then begs the question:
What do possums eat? What’s their diet list and eating habits? We’ll start with what an opossum diet consists of, then drill over different kinds of food sources the creature feeds.
- 1 The Possum-Opossum Diet
- 2 Possum Species and their Diet Lists
- 3 Do Possums Eat Chicken?
- 4 What Is The Possum Favorite Food?
- 5 Can Possum Eat Ticks?
- 6 Do Possum Eat Snakes?
- 7 Do Possums Eat Rats?
- 8 Do Possum Eat Cat or Dog Food?
- 9 Do Possums eat Carrion or Dead Animals?
- 10 What Vegetables Do Opossums Eat?
- 11 What Do Baby Possums Eat?
- 12 Opossum Diet in Captivity
- 13 Does Opossum Eat Plants?
- 14 What Do Opossums Eat in The Garden?
- 15 Can Opossum Eat Garbage?
- 16 What Does Opossum Eat in Winter?
- 17 What Does Wild Possum Eat?
- 18 Are Possums Good To Have Around?
- 19 What Can I Feed A Possum In My Yard?
- 20 Conclusion
The Possum-Opossum Diet
Possum is an omnivore which means the diet consists of plants and animals. The creatures also eat any kind of food that they can access including dead animals.
Their main diet is fruits and vegetables. Unlike other animals, possums are not picky eaters, so they will eat anything to survive when their main source of food is depleted.
Possums are scavengers. They eat dead animals and carrions or road kill because they need calcium in their diet. Although they are poor scavengers, their inadequacy is compensated with an excellent memory.
Opossums have a sharp memory that can remember where you kept your source of food and come back for more the next day. According to the lab tests, opossums can recall where you keep the food. That’s why it’s so challenging to get rid of them in your yard or garden. Opossums have a super digestive and immune system.
Their poor eyesight doesn’t help them when it comes to looking for food. However, they make up for this with a great sense of hearing and smell, making them successful scavengers and food terrorists in urban and rural areas..
Besides food, opossums are also attracted to overflowing smelly trash cans, uncovered compost heaps, and other dirty containers you have in the yard.
Like most animals, opossums also like to live near water or moist areas. Let’s look at the different plants and animals opossums can eat.
Note: I used to have possum problems in my yard until I found success using this product. It worked wonders in repelling possums out of my yard. I also recommended it to my grandma who had a garden.
Possum Species and their Diet Lists
|Common Ringtail Possum||Pure herbivore.Feeds on Eucalyptus leaves, flowers and fruitsfeeds on birds’ eggs, insects, chicks, and small vertebratesTheir favourite food is Australian mistletoe||Australia|
|Mountain Pygmy Possum||Feeds on Bogong moth that makes up 30% of their dietSupplement their diet with seeds, buds, and fruits.They also feed on mountain plum pine, snow beard-heaths, fruit-bearing conifer, and blackberry Rubus spp||Australia|
|Tasmanian Pygmy Possum||Feeds on small animals like lizards, spiders, and insects.They also eat pollen and nectar||Australia|
|Western Pygmy Possum||Majorly feeds on pollen and nectar from eucalyptus and melaleucaThe also feed on insects||Australia|
|Northern Brushtail Possum||Feeds on leaves, seeds, flowers, fruits, and other plant matterFeeds on toxic plant tooThey supplement their diet with moths, birds’ eggs, grubs, snails, and baby birds||Australia|
|Mountain Brushtail Possum||Feeds on Acacia speciesThey also consume epigeal fungi and eucalypt species||Australia|
|Herbert River Ringtail Possum||Feeds on rainforest trees like Pink Bloodwood and CadaghiSupplement their diet with fruits and flowers such as bacelliamts, Silver Quandong, and Melodinus bacellianus||Australia|
|Green Ringtail Possum||Feeds on different leaves.a lotThey like eating fig treesThe main diet include:Red Tulip Oak, Shining-leaved Stinging Tree, False Stinger, Pepperwood, and Flame Kurrajong||Australia|
|Rock Ringtail Possum||Their main diet includes fruits and flowers.They also feed on Eucalyptus miniata, fruits of Vitex glabrata||Australia|
|Lemuroid Ringtail Possum||They feed exclusively on leaf. They are leaf eaters.They supplement their diet with flowers of Queensland Maple, Bollywood, Brown Quandong, and Brown Bollywood.||Australia|
|Eastern Pygmy-Possum||Feeds on insects only like spiders, termites, beetle larvae, grasshoppers, beetles, and mantises.||Australia|
|Bare-tailed Woolly Opossum||Feeds on nectar, fruits, reptiles, birds, gum and vegetables.25% of their diet will consist of butterflies and beetlesThey will also supplement their diet with tree sap, vertebrates, invertebrates, arthropods, and nectar.They feed on fruits from these five main trees Symphonia globulifera, Humiriastrum subcrenatum, Dacryodes, nitren, and Tapirira guianensis.||North-America|
|Derby’s Woolly Opossum||feeds on vertebrates, nectar, and small invertebrates.They also feed on fruits of Cecropia and pepper vines.||North-America|
|Brown Eared Woolly Opossum||Feeds on nectar, vertebrates, and fruitsFruits are parts of their diet||North-America|
|Common Opossum||Eat anything.feed on vegetables, fruits, insects, carrion, and small animals.||North-America|
|Virginia Opossum||Feed on snakes, snails, earthworms, small birds, insects, and carrionSupplement their diet with fruits and grains||North-America|
|Gray Four-eyed Opossum||feeds on mice, snails, earthworms, birds, amphibians, crustaceans, and reptilesThey supplement their diet with insects, nectar, and fruits.||North-America|
Do Possums Eat Chicken?
Possums eat chicken, eggs, and chicks although that does not make up the largest portion of their diet. However, they are likely to feed on young chicks and eggs compared to a full-grown chicken.
Possums are known to consume more than 50 chicks in one night whether dead or alive. The creature has 50 sharp teeth which make it easier to tear the flesh and bones of a young chick apart.
Possum will attack a full-grown chicken on the neck when the need arises. With their sharp teeth, opossums usually attack the breast most of the time. That will make the chicken die from shock and lose lots of blood.
Unfortunately, the opossum won’t feed on the whole chicken, but it will feed on the gizzard, the crop, parts of the chest, and other parts.
Sometimes they may bite the neck to drink the blood of the chicken. We have never heard of the opossum attacking the chicken in our backyard but we know different opossums have different diets. It also depends on the species and size of the opossum. If it is large enough it will bite your chicken.
What Is The Possum Favorite Food?
Generally, possums are fond of eating insects, but they are also fine with eating anything they can find. This also includes finding food scraps from garbage cans.
The insects will make up most of a possum’s diet in a wild habitat. Moreover, possums consume common insects like crickets, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and beetles.
Can Opossum Get through a chicken wire?
Possums and raccoons have sharp teeth that can tear various grades of chicken wires. That means a chicken wire isn’t enough to protect your chicken from opossums. A chicken wire will keep your chicken from wandering but not opossum.
If you have to protect your chicken make sure to use the hardware cloth with a fine mesh. Bear in mind that even with a solid wire mesh, you must do everything possible to ensure your chicken coop is free from possums. Instead of using chicken wire, you can use a hardware cloth like this product which is effective. You will love it, I promise.
Can Possum Eat Ticks?
According To CDC (Center for Disease and Prevention), virgin opossums can eat 95% of the ticks in their path which is a representative of 5,000 ticks every season. It helps to keep the tick population in the garden or yard under control.
What’s more, ticks spread Lyme disease. When an opossum kills or eats the ticks they are reducing the spread of the diseases. Although they can’t get rid of the entire tick population since they’ll get bitten, they’ll destroy at least 90% of them.
An average opossum walking in the woods will eat about 200 ticks anytime they walk around the forest.
Since the population of ticks spreading Lyme disease is increasing, we have a lot of people who are welcoming opossums to eat ticks in their yards. If you have a small group of possums they can eat 10,000 to 12, 000 Ticks each month.
Do Possum Eat Snakes?
Possums eat snakes including venomous snakes. Scientists discovered that possums are immune to snake venom which explains why they are safe when they eat snakes.
What’s more, they have discovered a compound inside the possum’s blood that makes the creature resistant to snake venom.
A possum will eat a snake if it finds one along the way. However, since they eat anything, they don’t actually go hunting for snakes.
Bear in mind that an opossum will only feed on the snake if it looks like an easy catch for them. One thing you have to understand is that this animal doesn’t like to struggle that much.
That said, don’t expect all snakes to fall prey to possums. We have certain snakes that are a threat to possums like the Elapid snakes.
Elapid snakes feed on reptiles, frogs, mammals, and sometimes possums. In other words, opossums can’t go near large snakes. They can only feed on medium and small snakes like:
Do Possums Eat Rats?
Possums feed on most rodents including rats. Possums are more scavengers than hunters.
What that means is, that they don’t go around looking for rats. However, if they find a rat along the way, they’ll catch it and eat it. Possum will only kill and eat a rat when it is starving or desperate for food or when the rat becomes too aggressive.
If you are living in an opossum-infested neighborhood then you might have felt the reduction of the rodent population in the area.
Opossums were once used in Brookly to check the rodent population. The local council thought that once opossums finished the rat population in the city, they would die of starvation. That was a bad idea because possums have managed to survive since the era of dinosaurs thanks to their dietary eating pattern.
Besides that, opossums are also resistant to rat poison. They have a strong peptide in their blood that counters the poison. The only poison they can’t resist is neurotoxins. Other rodents and possums eat include cockroaches, cricket, slugs, beetle, rats, mice, and snakes.
Read More: How To Trap Possum: [The New Guide]
Do Possum Eat Cat or Dog Food?
Possum can eat virtually everything including cat or dog food. If you leave the cat food and water bowls at night, you won’t get it the following day.
That means your pet will have to go hungry. Possum will eat pellets, soft foods, and canned meat for the cat and dog. Although they won’t attack your pet, they will wait for the night to go and steal the food.
But that’s not all.
Possums also eat human food like bread, cookies, chips, and crackers. Most human foods will pose a health threat because they have lots of sugar, salt, and fats which will make possums obese. Since they can feed on cat food, dog food, and human food, they’re likely to be in your yard or garden.
Feeding opossum human food like bread, and cookies will cause dermatitis. The opossum will lose its fur and tail if is not treated and die painfully.
Do Possums eat Carrion or Dead Animals?
Possums need calcium in their body so they will kill animals. The creatures love eating dead animals that have been hit by a car. If you love long-distance driving chances are, you have seen a possum scavenging on decaying carcasses on the road.
In the wild, you’ll see them feeding the bones of dead animals. Since they’re scavengers they’ll feed on any left carcasses they found on the way.
What Vegetables Do Opossums Eat?
Opossums can eat vegetables in your garden like tomatoes, peaches, onions, and many more. Opossums can eat ripe tomatoes in your garden. If you present a wide variety of edibles to the possum, it will start to eat tomatoes first.
Other vegetables opossums are likely to eat include corn, lettuce, cucumber, and broccoli. Opossums also feed on weeds and dead plants in your garden.
Opossums love to eat wilted and decaying plants over healthy nourishing vegetables. This should be a sign of relief to green gardeners out there.
That said, the best way to prevent possums from eating your tomatoes and other vegetables are through netting. You may also install a wire mesh fence in your garden. If possum keeps eating vegetables in your garden you can use blood and meal fertilizer like this one to keep them away. It has worked wonders for many gardeners.
Can Opossum Eat Fruits?
Opossums are omnivores and will eat fleshy ripe fruits of all kinds. Many gardeners have reported opossums eating their oranges, bananas, apples, kanono, grapes, watermelon, pawpaw, kiwi fruits, apples, oranges, grapes, figs, and persimmons. Besides that these creatures will also eat buds, shoots, bark, and fern flesh.
Opossums like to eat fruit trees because they are highly available. What’s more, they have been reported to feed on high-level sugar content like peaches and palms which cause diarrhea in other animals when eaten.
They rarely eat whole fruits but they will eat one part of the fruits and leave the rest. What’s more, they don’t like to eat fruit seeds, but only eat flesh and skin. They don’t eat seeds because they can’t digest them.
What Do Baby Possums Eat?
Baby opossums can eat everything when they’re big enough to leave their mother’s pouch. Baby opossums can feed on cockroaches, worms, and slugs.
Their favorite diet or food is snails. What’s more, baby possums can’t survive on milk because marsupial milk is different from formula or cow’s milk.
Besides that the baby possum can’t suckle like other animals, so giving it bottled food won’t work and it may cause aspiration and death.
Baby opossums drink their mother’s milk until they are 90 days old. Baby opossums won’t last even three days without food. In other words, if you are planning to take care of this creature, you may need to be extra careful so that it does not die.
Opossum Diet in Captivity
An excellent diet for captive possums will be insects that are rich in protein, small mammals which are high in fats, and fruits or nuts which are rich in carbs and high calcium. A captive opossum can feed on anything because it is an omnivore.
The opossum will eat both plants and animals. In the wild, an opossum is used to eat a variety of vegetables, grasses, leaves, fruits, grapes, carrion, snails, slugs, and worms.
However, an opossum in captivity needs to be fed a balanced diet every day. Ensure that 70 to 80% of the food includes vegetables and 20 to 30% should consist of meat.
Does Opossum Eat Plants?
Opossums can eat plants and nuts although it’s not their primary source of food. Despite being omnivores they can be herbivores. One type of opossum known to feed exclusively on plants is the common Ringtail possum.
Plants and nuts provide a lot of calcium in the diet which helps with bone formation and the growth of teeth.
Mother opossum will always feed her child with calcium-rich milk until the baby is 90 days old. Besides plants, opossums also feed on grasses and leaves they find near the water sources.
They also feed on the plant materials like fruits and leaves, and bulbs. The animal’s diet changes with the season depending on the kind of food available.
Opossums can also eat dead weeds and weedy vegetation which contain high amounts of calcium. The opossum is more likely to feed on decaying plants but not well-nourished plants.
What Do Opossums Eat in The Garden?
Opossums will feed on a variety of food sources available in the garden such as mice, squirrels, berries, fruits, and many more.
Since it’s an omnivore, the main diet will consist of animals (dead or alive) and vegetables such as tomatoes and potatoes. Snakes, toads, slugs, and other pests will also top on the list.
In the garden, the opossum is likely to consume dead spiders, termites, wax worms, grasshoppers, crickets, flies, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, slugs, lizards, and frogs. Insects are rich in calcium and proteins that’s why possum loves to eat them so much.
Can Opossum Eat Garbage?
Possums are known to go through trash bins and eat garbage when they are hungry. But that’s not all, they can also hunt household pests which means, ransacking the garbage area.
Garbage’s smell attracts opossums and they’ll eat anything available from stale milk, juice, soda, and any other leftovers.
When they can’t find food, they’ll scatter the trash all over and make it messy. Opossums and raccoons are the same because they’ll do anything to get their hands on any available food.
These creatures are opportunistic feeders meaning they eat anything that is easily accessible as long as it doesn’t pause danger to them.
What Does Opossum Eat in Winter?
Possums will eat the same food they eat during the summer seasons. Possums are herbivores and insectivorous meaning they will eat a variety of foods that are easily accessible during the winter.
Some of their food sources in the winter include rodents, snakes, insects, eggs, grains, and fruits.
What Does Wild Possum Eat?
The wild opossum diet is different from what urban opossums will feed. In the wild, they feed on insects, beetles, crickets, earthworms, ticks, snails, and slugs.
Wild possum does supplement their diet with small animals such as voles, frogs, mice, rats, and moles.
Rodents and small animals make up their primary sources of food because they’re readily available.
In the wild, they’ll also try to eat plants such as fruits, berries, wild fungi, flowers, nuts, and grains. Besides that, they’ll also eat vegetables whether fresh or stale.
Are Possums Good To Have Around?
Possums are omnivores and have proven beneficial to humans as they cause very little harm to humans. The best perk about having a possum around is consuming undesirable insects like slugs, snails, and insects.
A possum keeps your neighborhood clear of unwanted pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches. That is why possums are good to have around in your gardens and yards.
What Can I Feed A Possum In My Yard?
If you like having possums around as a biological pest-deterring strategy, here are a few things that you can feed a possum to keep them sticking around in your yard.
You can plant gardens with vegetables, flowers as well as fruits. The plant’s flowers will attract slugs, snails, and other pollinating insects. Possums also prefer feeding on over-ripe fruits that have fallen to the ground.
There you have it! A complete list of food possums or opossums feeds. If you want to keep the animal as a pet, you can as well feed it the foods we have mentioned above.
If you see them coming into your garden, chances are they’ll scavenge on the food we’ve mentioned above. And it’s maybe time for you to get rid of them. The more you leave your garden the messier they cause in the garden.