13 Things Possums Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips)

The possum comprises a group of marsupials that live in Australia, Sulawesi, and New Guinea. There are approximately 70 different species of true possums that are recognized by researchers.

Depending on the species, possums are usually herbivorous or omnivorous. Their various diets include fruits, flowers, insects, nuts, and more.

Possums’ Habits and Biology

Possums’ Habits and Biology

While possums are generally regarded as rodents and pests, they are quite useful to have nearby. Here, we will explore some facts about possums that make them suitable pets.

They Are Not Picky Eaters

They eat almost anything including animals struck by vehicles; everything to the bone. This means that they very efficiently manage waste. They also eat garden pests such as slugs, beetles, and cockroaches. Possums are very resourceful and can fend for themselves. They are scavengers by nature and can eat anything from lizards to berries.

Fun Fact

Possums have been around for millions of years. They are one of the oldest living mammal species. They have survived for over 70 million years on our planet. This is why they are often referred to as living fossils. They showcase incredible resilience.

They Are Not Destructive Animals

While in neighborhoods, they do not destroy lawns or property. Dr. Karen Becker explains that if you simply leave a door open and remove any food that might draw them in, they eventually move on without disrupting your home and belongings.

They Eliminate Ticks

According to statistics by the National Wildlife Federation, one possum can potentially kill 4000 ticks in a week. This is due to their vigorous self-grooming methods.

They either crash or consume the ticks burrowing in their fur. They are not susceptible to Lyme disease and can therefore protect humans from the same. This makes them a suitable pet to keep.

They Are Not Aggressive

Even when they are baring their teeth, they never outright attack. They will use the infamous ‘playing possum’ technique to appear dead when confronted with a predator hence avoiding an actual fight. They can stay zoned out for hours and emit a foul smell to keep other predators away.

They Can Be Used To Control Snakes

Possums are not susceptible to most snake venom. They are known to eat some snakes and this can help in snake control in the area.

They Scarcely Have Rabies

Possums are almost completely immune to contracting rabies or passing it along. According to Dr. Karen Becker, this is because their natural body temperature is too low to maintain hosting the virus.

What Do Possums Like To Eat Most?

What Do Possums Like To Eat Most

  1. Nearly all possums are omnivorous. They survive by eating a variety of foods. Their primary sources of nourishment include small rodents, insects, worms, slugs and snails, frogs, and birds
  2. They also eat vegetables, berries, nuts, fruits, garbage, pet food, and birdseed
  3. Possums are scavengers and will eat just about anything. They are attracted by overflowing and odorous trash cans, uncovered compost heaps, or other containers you may keep outside
  4. Possums aren’t particularly picky eaters but they can be lured by fish or apples as bait. Pet food can also work well in luring them
  5. They also like sweet things. Fresh fruit, pieces of apple, jam, and peanut butter can be used to lure in possums
  6. Some possums feed on birds’ eggs, insects, chicks, and small vertebrates
  7. The common brushtail possum has the most generalized diet of all possums. It prefers to feed on plants’ matter
  8. The Australian mistletoe is the most favorite food of the brushtail possum
  9. Possums can also eat highly toxic leaves. They are known to have a high tolerance for venom
  10. For the mountain pygmy possums, their diet consists of up to 30% of begong moth. It supplements its diet with seeds, buds, and fruits. They also consume mountain plum wine, snow beard heaths, and fruit-bearing confiner
  11. The Tasmanian pygmy possum largely eats pollen and nectar from eucalyptus and melaleuca. It also feeds on insects. It is thought to play a vital role in pollination
  12. The northern brushtail possum is likely to feed on leaves, seeds, flowers, fruits, and many others. They are most likely to be found in near urban areas mainly because their primary foods are found in gardens
  13. For domestic possums, some of the best things to feed them are high protein low-fat foods. They like to munch on dry foods like kibble, fruits, and certain vegetables. They can also eat cooked foods

Foods to Avoid Feeding To Possums

Foods to Avoid Feeding To Possums

  • For brushtail possums, human food is not natural and can make them sick. Brushtail possums are relatively small compared to humans, so even small portions of human food can be very unhealthy for them
  • Completely avoid food such as bread, cake and biscuits, raw meat, and cooked bones. Some food may cause life-threatening illnesses and raw meat can give them parasites such as Toxoplasma Gondii. Cooked bones do not digest properly
  • Possum joeys should never be fed regular cow’s milk as the lactose will cause diarrhea, slow their growth, and may cause death
  • Possums should not be fed almonds, cheese, onions, dairy products, green potatoes, and junk food
  • Any food that is supplemented with pure forms of vitamin A and D or calcium in the absence of known deficiency is dangerous for the omnivorous possum.
  • Any diet that includes any meat or protein products except in very restricted amounts is dangerous to the possum
  • Excessive amounts of naturally sourced vitamin A or D is also dangerous and not recommended.
  • Canned cat food, chicken or other meats, eggs, kitten chow, dog chow, excessive amounts of apple sauce, human baby cereals, or foods should not be fed to possums
  • Large quantities of fruit can also make possums sick
  • It is not advised to give chlorinated water to possums

Tips for Feeding Possums

It is not advised to feed possums regularly. When possums have to forage for themselves and only get a small amount from you, it ensures they maintain a more balanced diet. The natural mixture of food for possums is predominantly native leaves with some flowers and small amounts of fruits and insects.

They eat a very wide range of food. If you provide a good supply of tasty food, they get lazy and just wait on you to feed them. Possums may begin to start fights as you are tempting other possums to enter the territory of those who visit yours.

Possums will defend their territory for their family group. The fights will lead to injuries which will lead to skin disease. The skin disease exudative dermatitis gets into skin damaged by fighting and can result in very serious infections even leading to death.

If you are taking care of orphaned possums, it is important to have fresh water available for them at all times. Also, feed them soy milk or a formula recommended by a vet. Feed the possum babies with a dropper dripping the liquid straight into their mouths.

It is possible that small snakes can supplement a possum’s diet. This, however, is not a recommended method of feeding possums. Possums have also been known to eat other possums. This is not a usual occurrence in the wild, however, in confined places, when a healthy possum is placed with a dying possum, the healthy one will eat the dying possum.

FAQ.

FAQ.

1. What is a possum’s diet?

A possum’s diet consists mainly of fruits, flowers, nuts, birdseed, nectar, pollen, invertebrates, rodents, snails and slugs, worms, insects, and some small animals.

2. What do you feed baby possums?

Baby possums stay in their mother’s pouch for 80 days after they are born and are the size of honey bees. You can feed them cockroaches, snails, slugs, and worms. Snails being their favorite. If you are feeding orphaned baby possums, feed them diluted formula.

3. Are possums edible?

Yes, possums are edible although it is not a very common delicacy. They are made as a stew by some people.

4. Will possums eat rat bait?

Yes, they can eat rat bait and will almost definitely die.

5. What is a possum’s favorite food?

Possums like to munch on vegetables and fruits. They like sweet things but should not eat them in excess. They eat almost anything. Fish and apples are attractive to them.

6. Should I feed a brushtail possum?

It is not recommended to feed brushtail possums. This can lead to nutritional imbalances, an increase in the spread of diseases, and a negative influence on their behavior. Lack of knowledge on what to feed can lead to obesity or even death.

7. What do you feed wild possums?

Wild possums typically feed on berries, nuts, seeds, vegetables, small animals, nectar, rodents, insects, worms, slugs, snails, and other common possum foods.

8. Do possums eat cats?

Yes. They can eat cats but only if they are easy prey. Possums are more threatened by cats and dogs. Some homeowners go as far as placing cat hair and dog hair around their compound to prevent possums from making a home out of their houses.

9. What attracts possums to your yard?

Possums are attracted to overflowing odorous trash cans, exposed compost heaps, and other containers you may keep outside.

10. Can you feed possums bananas?

Possums can eat bananas when they are old enough, but should not be fed too many fruits. Baby possums can eat mashed bananas.

Summary

Possums are a very diverse species and so is their diet. Based on their diet alone, possums can prove useful in any home. They are resourceful creatures and can fend for themselves. It is acceptable to keep a possum as a pet. If you want to keep a possum as a pet, you need to consider its diet carefully.

29 thoughts on “13 Things Possums Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips)”

  1. Keep your cats away from possum habitat. Their bite causes sepsis and is usually fatal, even with expert ICU vet care. Best to discourage from your urban garden and make sure your cat has a sundown curfew.

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    • our cat had plenty of neighborly relations with opossums that we witnessed over the course of years. Neither appeared threatened or particularly interested in the other. That cat spent many many nights outside and most certainly saw possums all the time and never got any diseases… died a natural death in old age.
      art in SoCal

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    • A cat and an opossum were both approaching a bowl of shrimp. I was in a darkened house watching. I jumped up and waved my arm and the cat ran away. The opossum didn’t see me and appeared surprised that the cat had turned tail upon his approach.

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    • Our 15-lb cat has been missing for 5 days. We discovered a possum has made a home in our front flower bed. There has been zero trace of our sweet boy, no one has even had a sighting of him in 5 days, and now I’m scared the possum may have tangled within him. He is bigger than the possum. Do you think possums would flee a bigger animal or attack them?

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      • I have lived with cats and opossums for 40 years. I have never had a problem between them. I am very sorry to hear about your boy. I think it would be far more likely a dog or vehicle, even large owl. I pray for his safe return.

        Reply
  2. I leave nut bread with lost of grapes. I have mealworms and sunflower hearts I feed my wild birds. The wild possum loves all of that stuff. I don’t give him plain bread. I left some white bread for my crows and the possum ate it. I know because I have a camera looking at my bird feeder. It’s a big piece of plywood. It’s always full of seeds and mealworms and freeze dried grubs.
    Is all of this ok.

    Reply
  3. Possums eat avocado seeds, so wait until the seeds sprout into a small tree before putting your pots outside. Otherwise, your seeds will disappear from the dirt. Squirrels will also eat your avocado seeds. I chased a possum away with my avocado seed in its mouth.

    Reply
    • I don’t know about possums, but squirrels are not supposed to eat avocado seeds(not that they won’t steal 1 if they find 1) Avocado seeds are toxic if squirrels eat them, they can safely eat the meaty part of avocados though.

      Reply
    • i have had big passion vines in my yard for years, and opossums are in the area almost nightly. I rarely have a passion fruit eaten by a pest, and those are by rats. So no, not in my experience. they do eat my sapotes, guavas, and cherimoyas though when they can. And they go crazy for my neighbors persimmons every fall.
      art in socal

      Reply
  4. There are 2 possums living around my house. They eat the cat food I put out for the feral cats and now I have discovered they like unshelled pecans. I have 3 pecan trees and I leave some pecans out for them to eat as well. They are interesting to watch when they eat. I have a camera that picks up the animals eating during the night.

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    • Thanks for being good to them! I have one as a pet and love him lots. They r misunderstood. They are really ver clean like cats and they eat fleas and tics AND they have very short life spans

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    • I had orphaned opposums left in my back yard where I feed cats dry and wet food and I have an indoor outdoor cat which I love like a child anyways I built a little habitat one stayed in it and one has been living in a bedroom and comes out to eat and socialize a little then disappears .. I let him back outside .. he snuck back in .. is he dangerous to my cat ? He’s adorable loves me it seems and comes when I call so does the outside one left .. I just read that opposums could give my cat sepsis?

      Reply
  5. I get nightly visits from a possum. It eats leftover bird seed on the ground and forages for insects, grubs, etc in my garden. It is not harmful, at all. Tonight the barking of a local dog scared it away.

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  6. Ugh! I’ve been caring for an orphaned possum for a few weeks. He is now big enough to release, but I was told he needed calcium, so I have fed him a plate every night of:
    -1/2 pack or can of soft cat food
    -Spoon of applesauce
    -Big spoon of yogurt (he leaves the blueberries if it has them)
    -A big spoon portion of shredded mozzarella mixed with cheddar cheeses
    And one portion of something different (pudding, dry cat food, mixed nuts, broccoli with cheese from my dinner, shrimp from my dinner, pasta from my dinner, dab of cool whip, part of a chicken nugget, just odd things.
    He rarely eats the oddball stuff.
    He always eats the cat food and most of the applesauce. He sometimes eats all the yogurt and sometimes eats half the yogurt. It seems I’ve been feeding him the wrong stuff. He is just now going outside to ease him into being wild- what would be best to leave out for him- applesauce and cat food? Maybe add peanut butter? I’m not going to provide worms or roaches. I do have a pool and protected land just a few yards/meters away with plenty of “forage stuff” but I want him to stay near by (I have several acres fenced in where he will be relatively safe). Any advice?

    Reply
    • Yes, eggs with the shell are good. Cooked or raw. Join the Opossum Society of the United States and they will send you plenty of info on what to feed. Give him 1 Tums a day. Lots of calcium!

      Reply
  7. My daughter rescued a baby possum his mother and other baby’s were killed on road he-she? Is now almost two. We have moved to a 60 Acre ranch unfortunately we are in the company of numerous Coyotes so I keep him in his house and 10 at night he loves peach yogurt it’s favorite, doesn’t like vegetables, can cat food frozen fish and Won’t eat mill worms but he’ll eat a little inchworms and loves (Cricket) if he can catch them. How do I tell if he’s a boy or a girl and what does it mean when they’re chattering kind of like a squirrel

    Reply
  8. We have a possum that visits regularly. Our Ring camera caught him fighting off three coyotes! My son also witnessed it from the window and said the sounds were unbelievable.
    Our possum still comes by regularly. I’m tempted to leave him treats, but don’t want to “spoil” him since he seems to do well on his own.

    Reply
  9. I have a grown female 2 yrs 4 mo. (Daisy) and a boy (Norman) 4 months. If either of your Possums are boys you will know without asking.🤣
    They are the best pets I’ve ever had. They went to the litterbox on their own and are cleaner than a dog a cat. I am bedridden and they are so much company for me.

    Reply
  10. The authors are showing their bias by suggesting that opossums do no damage to lawns. While not as destructive as armadillos and hogs, they will root up sections of a yard. I live pretty deep in the woods but have about 3 acres with some grass and have seen them rooting my yard plus ive captured them on camera. They are not welcome here.

    Reply
  11. I have a outside opossum. He seems to be friendly and aside from the bird seed and pnuts that are left by the birds and squirrels whom I’ve also befriended, I will put a 1/4 cup of cat food, very healthy food at that outside. Seems to love it and isn’t getting sick. I’ve named it Snowball. Bc it has a white patch on its back like a Snowball. I speak in low tones, and purr at it. Every night he comes to the deck. Although I think he lives underneath it. My dogs will sniff, but will usually ignore it. So far, its good.

    Reply
  12. These comments have given me great food for thought. I have a wild possum living under my ahead. I am really worried about how he will do come the cold winter. I feed all the backyard critters. So there is always sees out. I have been giving him raisins,blueberries,cat treats, dog treats all natural for both,apples,potato skins,he didn’t like toast,carrots, or cranberries. I need to find something to keep him for the winter but not make him tame. I want to keep the wild wild. I don’t have a lot of faith in mankind to be nice if he were to look to them for food so he needs to still be a wild possum. Am I doing the right thing by letting him stay and sublimenting his diet? I hope so because I sure do enjoy my fuzzy wussy. Yes that’s his name. All my backyard critters have names and know them. Straight down to my blue jays.

    Reply

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