Opossums generally do not attack humans and do not usually bite unless provoked. When opossums feel threatened, they bare their teeth and begin to drool excessively. Opossums tend to avoid conflict though and possess a natural defense mechanism that allows them to play dead when confronted by potential predators.
While a common belief is that opossums carry rabies, testing has shown that opossums are extremely low-risk for contracting the disease. The animals have lower body temperatures than many other animals, which allows them to remain resistant to many diseases. Even so, it is always important for individuals with opossum bites or scratches to consult a physician to ensure proper treatment.