What Do Possums Eat: Omnivorous Diet Explained

Possums are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. They belong to the family of marsupials and are known for their unique physical characteristics, such as sharp teeth and hairless ears. These animals can be found in different parts of the world, including North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

One common question people ask about possums is what they eat. The answer is not as simple as you might think. Possums are omnivores, which means they eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, insects, and even garbage. Knowing what possums eat is not only important for understanding their diet but also their role in the ecosystem.

In this blog post, we will explore the topic of what possums eat in-depth. We’ll examine the different types of food they consume and why it’s important to know about their diet. So sit back and enjoy learning more about these intriguing marsupials.


Possums, also known as opossums, are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. These nocturnal marsupials are found in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, and they play an important role in their respective ecosystems.

In this article, we will explore the topic of what possums eat. Their omnivorous diet is an essential aspect of their survival, as it provides them with the necessary nutrients to thrive. From fruits and vegetables to insects and garbage, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to their dietary habits.

But before we dive into their food preferences, let’s take a closer look at these curious creatures. Possums are tailless and equipped with sharp teeth and hairless ears. They are known for their unique ability to play dead when threatened, a defense mechanism that has earned them the nickname “playing possum.”

Despite their intimidating appearance, possums are generally harmless creatures that prefer to avoid conflict. They are solitary animals that prefer to live in secluded areas such as hollow trees or brush piles.

Now that we have a better understanding of what possums are, let’s delve into what they eat. By understanding their dietary habits, we can gain insight into their role in the ecosystem and the impact they have on their environment.

What are possums?

Physical Characteristics

Physical Characteristics

Possums, also known as opossums, are characterized by their unique physical features. These creatures are typically tailless, with only a small stump remaining where their tail should be.

One of the most distinctive features of possums is their sharp teeth. Their teeth are designed to tear apart and consume a variety of foods, including tough insects and fruits with hard shells. The sharpness and strength of their teeth allow them to break through these hard exteriors with ease.

Another interesting feature of possums is their hairless ears. Unlike other animals that have fur or hair covering their ears, possums have bare skin. This trait is thought to aid in heat regulation, allowing possums to dissipate heat more efficiently during hot weather.

Possums also have opposable thumbs on their hind feet, which helps them to climb trees and grasp onto branches. Additionally, they have a prehensile tail, meaning it can wrap around and hold onto objects such as tree limbs.

Overall, the physical characteristics of possums are fascinating and unique. Their adaptations have enabled them to survive in a variety of environments and find food sources in diverse habitats.

Habitat and Distribution

Habitat and Distribution

Possums are marsupials that can be found in a variety of habitats across the world. In North America, possums are commonly known as opossums and can be found throughout the continent.

In Australia, possums inhabit a range of environments, from rainforests to deserts. The most common species found in this region is the brushtail possum. They are also found in New Zealand, where they were introduced in the mid-19th century to establish a fur trade.

Possums are adaptable creatures that are able to thrive in both urban and rural environments. They make their homes in tree hollows, caves, and other secluded spots. Often, they will use abandoned buildings and attics as shelter.

The distribution of possums has been impacted by human activities such as deforestation, habitat destruction and introduction of non-native species. For instance, in New Zealand, possums have had a significant negative impact on the native flora and fauna. They eat the leaves of trees, which can lead to the death of entire forests. Additionally, they predate on the eggs and young of birds and reptiles.

Despite the challenges posed by human activity, possums continue to thrive in many parts of the world. Their adaptability and resilience make them an important part of the ecosystem.

What do possums eat?

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables

Possums are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, possums have a diverse palate that includes many of the same foods we enjoy as humans.

Apples are a favorite among possums and are often found in their diets. With their sweet flavor and crisp texture, apples make for a great snack for possums, and they are packed with nutrients such as fiber and vitamin C.

Bananas are another fruit that possums enjoy. They are easy to digest and are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and supports healthy muscle function.

Berries are also a popular choice for possums. Whether it’s strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries, these small but flavorful fruits are a great source of antioxidants, which help protect the body against damage from free radicals.

Carrots and lettuce are two vegetables that possums will happily munch on. Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body and supports eye health. Lettuce, on the other hand, provides possums with hydration and vitamins such as K and A.

It’s important to note that while possums do enjoy fruits and vegetables, they still require a balanced diet that includes protein and fats from animal sources. A diet consisting solely of fruits and vegetables can lead to malnourishment and health problems.

In summary, possums have a wide-ranging diet that includes many fruits and vegetables commonly found in human diets. While these foods provide valuable nutrients, it’s essential to ensure that possums have a balanced diet that includes animal protein and fats for optimal health.

Insects and Small Animals

Possums are known for their ability to adapt and survive in various environments, which is why it’s no surprise that they have a diverse diet. Insects and small animals are a significant part of the possum’s omnivorous diet.

Insects make up a large portion of the possum’s diet, and they are particularly fond of beetles, caterpillars, and crickets. They also eat worms, including earthworms and mealworms, which provide a good source of protein. Snails are another favorite food of possums, and they are especially useful for helping to control garden pests.

Possums are opportunistic feeders, and they will eat small animals when given the chance. Mice are a popular prey item, and possums are skilled at catching them. They will also eat birds, although this is less common as they are not natural predators. Possums are more likely to scavenge for bird eggs or young birds that have fallen from the nest.

It’s important to note that possums do not pose a threat to domestic pets, as they are not aggressive and generally avoid conflict. In fact, possums can be beneficial in controlling rodent populations in urban areas.

In conclusion, possums have an eclectic diet that includes insects and small animals. Their ability to adapt to their environment allows them to thrive in various habitats, making them an essential component of many ecosystems.

Garbage and Human Food

Garbage and Human Food

Possums are known for their opportunistic feeding habits, which include scavenging in garbage cans and eating human food. As omnivores, they will eat just about anything they can find, including pet food left out overnight or food scraps left on outdoor tables. In this section, we’ll explore how possums interact with garbage cans, pet food, and bird feeders.

Trash Cans
Possums are notorious for rummaging through trash cans in search of food. They have a keen sense of smell that allows them to detect food from a distance, so it’s not uncommon to find these marsupials searching for meals in residential areas. To prevent possums from getting into your trash, it’s recommended to use a secured trash can with a tight-fitting lid.

Pet Food
Leaving pet food outside can also attract possums. Outdoor cats and dogs may not finish their meals, leaving scraps that possums will gladly consume. If you have pets that eat outside, make sure to bring in their leftover food after they’re done eating. This will help prevent possums from coming around.

Bird Feeders
Possums are also known for raiding bird feeders. While they can’t climb up poles or hang from wires, they can jump up to 8 feet in the air, making bird feeders vulnerable to their attacks. To keep possums away from bird feeders, it’s recommended to use a baffle or dome-shaped squirrel guard that extends at least 18 inches below the feeder.

Overall, it’s important to be mindful of how possums interact with our garbage and human food. By taking preventative measures such as securing trash cans and bringing in pet food, we can reduce the likelihood of attracting these critters.

Why is it important to know what possums eat?

Knowing what possums eat is important for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is that they play a crucial role in maintaining the ecosystem. As omnivores, possums have a diverse diet, which includes both plants and animals. They help to disperse seeds by consuming fruits and berries, and their consumption of insects helps to control pest populations.

In addition, understanding possums’ diets can also aid in pest control efforts. For example, if you have a garden and notice that your fruits and vegetables are being eaten, it could be possums that are responsible. By knowing this, you can take steps to protect your crops without resorting to harmful pesticides or other methods.

Another reason why it’s important to know what possums eat is because habitat destruction has led to changes in their diets. For instance, in urban areas, possums may consume more human food and garbage than they would in their natural habitats. This can lead to negative consequences such as increased litter and potential health risks for both humans and possums alike.

In conclusion, knowledge about possums’ diets can help us better understand their role in the ecosystem, aid in pest control efforts, and mitigate potential problems caused by habitat destruction. By taking the time to learn about their dietary habits, we can coexist with these fascinating marsupials while minimizing any negative impacts on our environment.


In conclusion, understanding what possums eat is crucial not only to their survival but also to the ecosystem in which they live. Possums play an essential role in pest control by preying on insects and small animals like mice and snails. They also help disseminate seeds through their feces, contributing to the regeneration of vegetation in their habitat.

Additionally, knowing what possums eat can help prevent conflicts with humans. Possums are known to raid trash cans and bird feeders in search of food, causing damage to property and potentially spreading diseases. By taking measures such as securing trash cans and removing fallen fruits and vegetables from yards, humans can prevent these unwanted encounters.

Overall, possums have a diverse diet that includes both plant and animal matter, making them important omnivores in their ecosystem. It is essential to respect their natural feeding habits and take steps to coexist peacefully with these fascinating marsupials.
Possums are fascinating creatures that play an important role in our ecosystem. As omnivores, they have a diverse diet that includes fruits, vegetables, insects, and even garbage. By understanding what possums eat, we can better appreciate their place in the food chain and how they contribute to maintaining a healthy environment.

Furthermore, learning about possums’ dietary habits can help us address issues related to habitat destruction and pest control. By recognizing their natural diet, we can create more eco-friendly gardening practices and reduce conflicts with humans.

In conclusion, knowing what possums eat is essential to understanding these remarkable marsupials. By taking steps to coexist with them harmoniously, we can preserve their unique contribution to our world.

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