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Are Possums Dangerous To Humans?

Are Possums Dangerous To Humans?

By Mildred T Koerner on May 16, 2023

Possums, also known as opossums, are a common sight in many parts of the world.

These small, furry creatures have become somewhat infamous for their tendency to play dead when threatened or frightened – a behavior that has earned them a reputation for being harmless and even amusing.

However, there is some debate over whether possums pose any danger to humans, particularly in urban areas where they may come into closer contact with people.

As someone who has spent years studying wildlife behavior, I can tell you that while possums are generally not aggressive toward humans, they do have certain behaviors and characteristics that could potentially be dangerous under the right circumstances.

In this article, we will explore some of the factors that contribute to possum-human interactions and examine the risks associated with these encounters.

Whether you're an avid nature lover or simply curious about the animals in your backyard, understanding the potential dangers posed by possums can help you stay safe and confident when sharing space with these fascinating creatures.

Possum Behavior And Habits

Possums are fascinating creatures that are known for their nocturnal habits.

They are primarily active at night and sleep during the day, which makes them a bit elusive to spot in the wild.

Possums are also opportunistic feeders who will eat almost anything they come across such as fruit, insects, small animals, and even garbage from human settlements.

When it comes to feeding behavior, possums have an interesting way of eating.

They have sharp teeth suited for biting into tough materials like shells or bones which allows them to consume things other animals cannot.

Moreover, possums tend to play dead when threatened by predators.

This is called 'playing possum,' where they roll over on their back with their eyes closed and their tongue hanging out while emitting a foul odor from glands located near their anus.

However, despite this defense mechanism, possums can still pose risks to humans in certain situations.

Risks Of Possum-Human Interactions

Possum Behavior and Habits are intriguing, to say the least.

These marsupials have unique characteristics that make them interesting wildlife creatures.

Possums are nocturnal animals, which means they're active during the night hours.

They spend much of their time scavenging for food, primarily fruits and insects.

While possums may seem harmless, there are risks associated with human-possum interactions.

One common concern is possum-related diseases that can be transmitted to humans through bites or scratches from infected animals.

Additionally, some possum species exhibit aggressive behavior when threatened or cornered, making it important to avoid provoking these animals in any way possible.

It's essential to understand both Possum behavior and aggression as well as the potential health concerns related to interacting with these fascinating creatures.

In the next section, we'll take a closer look at common possum-related health concerns and how best to protect ourselves while admiring these incredible animals up close.

Common Possum-Related Health Concerns

When it comes to possums, many people are concerned about their potential danger to humans.

While these creatures may look intimidating with their sharp teeth and claws, they are generally not aggressive toward people.

In fact, most possums will try to avoid human contact whenever possible.

However, there are still some health concerns related to possum encounters that should be taken seriously.

Possum bites can transmit diseases such as leptospirosis and tularemia, which can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.

Additionally, possums themselves can carry other possum-borne diseases like spotted fever and murine typhus.

Therefore, it is important for individuals who come into close contact with possums or their waste to take proper precautions to protect their health.

Moving forward, if you're looking to minimize your risk of encountering a possum altogether, there are several tips worth considering.

By taking steps such as securing your garbage cans and sealing off any entry points into your home or attic space, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of attracting these critters onto your property.

Read on for more helpful advice on how to stay clear of possum-related issues in the future.

Tips For Avoiding Possum Encounters

To ensure outdoor safety, it's important to understand how to avoid possum encounters.

One of the best ways is through wildlife education. Learning about the habits and behaviors of possums can help you make informed decisions when spending time outside.

Possums are nocturnal animals that typically come out at night in search of food.

To lessen your chances of encountering them, avoid leaving pet food or garbage cans outside overnight.

Keep compost piles securely covered and remove fallen fruit from trees as soon as possible.

If you do encounter a possum while outdoors, remember to give them plenty of space and never try to approach or touch them.

What To Do If You Encounter A Possum

As we've discussed in the previous section, encountering a possum can be alarming for many people.

However, it's important to remember that possums are generally not dangerous to humans.

In fact, they're more likely to play dead or retreat when faced with a perceived threat.

Possum behavior is largely influenced by their habitat.

These creatures prefer wooded areas and fields where there is plenty of cover and access to food sources like fruits, insects, and small animals.

If you live in an area with a high possum population, you may want to take extra precautions such as securing your trash cans at night and keeping pet food indoors.

By taking these simple steps, you'll be less likely to encounter a possum around your home.


In conclusion, possums are generally not dangerous to humans. However, it is important to be aware of their behavior and habits in order to avoid any potential risks.

Possums are nocturnal creatures that tend to keep to themselves, but they may become aggressive if they feel threatened or cornered.

If you do encounter a possum, it is best to give them plenty of space and avoid any direct contact.

If possible, try to scare them away by making loud noises or shining a bright light on them.

Remember that possums play an important role in our ecosystem as scavengers and pest controllers, so it's important to treat them with respect and caution.

As wildlife experts and animal behaviorists, we understand the importance of coexisting peacefully with all creatures great and small.

By following these simple tips for avoiding possum encounters and knowing what to do if you come across one unexpectedly, you can ensure a safe and harmonious relationship between humans and possums alike.


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