|Photo: Cody Pope|
Opossums are primarily nocturnal animals that will roam wherever food and water is available. They will eat almost anything, scavenging human garbage, roadkill and fruits and nuts. They are also known to hunt small animals such as snakes, insects, birds and mice. Ever opportunistic, opossums will sleep in burrows wherever they can find them both above and below ground, but will rarely put much effort into digging a den themselves.
Opossums spend much of their time in trees where they are less vulnerable to predation and use their claws and tails to easily grip branches and tree bark. However, they do often come down to flat ground to forage for food and are thus exposed to predators such as bobcats and dogs. When confronted with a threat the opossum is well known for its ability to “play possum”, tricking the predator into believing it is dead. Far from just an act, this involuntary response causes the animal to fall over; teeth bared, and even secrete a foul smelling fluid from its glands to make it seem less appetizing. Opossums cannot voluntarily wake up from this state and usually do not regain consciousness for 1-4 hours.
|Opossum "playing possum"|