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How Fast Can A Possum Run?

How Fast Can A Possum Run?

By Mildred T Koerner on May 16, 2023

Have you ever wondered how fast a possum can run?

These nocturnal creatures are known for their unique appearance and behavior, but what about their speed?

Whether you're an animal enthusiast or simply curious, understanding just how fast these critters move is sure to pique your interest.

Possums are often viewed as slow-moving animals due to their sluggish demeanor.

However, when threatened, they can quickly dart away from danger in a matter of seconds.

But just how fast can they really go?

Let's dive into the world of possums and uncover the truth behind their running abilities.

Possum Species And Size Variations

When it comes to possums, there are many different species and size variations.

These marsupials can range in size from a mere 6 inches up to over 3 feet in length!

While some may be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, others can weigh up to 14 pounds or more.

With such diversity across this family of animals, it's no surprise that their abilities vary as well - especially when it comes to how fast they can run.

While some species of possums have been known to move relatively quickly on occasion, none of them are particularly renowned for their speed.

In fact, most types of possums tend to be rather slow-moving creatures overall.

On average, these marsupials might reach speeds of around 8 miles per hour at best - hardly impressive compared to other mammals like cheetahs or greyhounds!

Nonetheless, there are still a few factors that can impact just how fast a given possum is able to run.

Factors Affecting Possum Running Abilities

Possums, also known as opossums, are not the fastest runners in the animal kingdom.

While they can cover some ground when necessary, their running abilities are limited by several factors.

One of the primary factors affecting possums' speed is their body structure.

Possums have short legs compared to other mammals, which means they cannot take long strides while running.

Additionally, their tails and back feet do not move together like those of most quadrupeds, causing them to lose balance easily during high-speed movements.

These limitations make it difficult for possums to achieve top speeds while on land.

However, despite these structural challenges, there are still ways that possums can run faster than you might expect!

As we explore further into what affects a possum's ability to run quickly, we'll see how various environmental and biological factors come into play.

Understanding these factors will help us appreciate just how remarkable these animals truly are.

To delve deeper into this topic let's first look at the average speed of possums...

Average Speed Of Possums

Have you ever seen a possum run? It's quite a sight to behold.

Watching a possum try to sprint is like watching a toddler take their first steps - they wobble, stumble, and look as if they might fall over at any moment.

Possums are not known for their speed; in fact, they run very slowly compared to other animals of similar size.

On average, possums can only reach speeds of up to 8 miles per hour when running.

This may seem slow, but it's actually quite impressive considering that these marsupials aren't built for speed.

Their top running speed is typically only used as a last resort when trying to evade predators or cross busy roads quickly.

Despite this limitation, possums have adapted to being skilled climbers and are excellent at playing dead when threatened.

So while they may not be able to outrun danger, they have plenty of other tricks up their sleeve to survive in the wild.

As fascinating as it is to watch these creatures attempt to pick up the pace and run away from danger, measuring their speed accurately requires more than just observation.

Researchers use various methods such as tagging them with GPS trackers and cameras or placing motion sensors along their paths to capture data on how fast they move.

These methods help scientists better understand the behavior and habits of possums so we can continue learning about these unique creatures living among us.

Research Methods For Measuring Possum Speed

To accurately measure how fast opossums run, researchers have developed various methods that take into account the unique characteristics of these rodents.

One common method is using motion-activated cameras to capture footage of opossums running in their natural habitat.

Researchers then use video analysis software to calculate the distance and speed traveled by the animals.

Another approach involves tracking opossums equipped with GPS devices, which provide real-time location data on their movements.

This way, researchers can monitor an individual animal's foraging behavior and determine its running speed when it moves from one location to another.

By combining these different research methods, scientists have been able to gather a wealth of facts about possums' running abilities, including their top speeds and average rates of movement during various activities.

Comparing Possum Speed To Other Animals

Have you ever wondered how fast a possum can run compared to other animals?

Well, let's compare their running speed to some of the most common mammals out there.

For starters, rats are often considered one of the fastest rodents with an impressive running speed of 13 miles per hour.

However, when it comes to opossums, they fall short as these creatures have a running speed of only 7 miles per hour.

While this may seem slow in comparison to other animals, it's important to note that opossums aren't built for speed but rather survival.

Their primary defense mechanism is playing dead or 'playing possum,' which has proven effective against predators over millions of years.

So although they may not be able to outrun a predator like other prey animals such as deer or rabbits, their unique ability to play dead gives them an advantage in surviving dangerous situations.


In conclusion, possums are not known for their speed but they can still move quickly when necessary.

Depending on the species and size variation, possums can run anywhere from 6 to 18 miles per hour.

Factors such as terrain and predators also play a role in their running abilities.

While possums may not be the fastest animals out there, they have adapted to survive in their environments through various means including playing dead or climbing trees.

Like many creatures of nature, each one has its own unique traits that make them special.

So next time you see a possum scurrying about, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of these fascinating creatures with their adorable little faces and nimble movements!


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