Q:

What do opossums eat?

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Quick Answer

The opossum diet ranges from grass to meat. Opossums are opportunistic omnivores that obtain most food through scavenging. They actively forage or grass, berries, nuts and seeds. Opossums eat meat and scavenge roadkill or the remains of other predators' kills. They also hunt if a particular prey is easy to catch.

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Full Answer

The Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial. Females give birth to a litter of tiny, underdeveloped young that initially live in a pouch. Opossums are highly opportunistic animals with a flexible diet. Insects are easy prey for opossums, but they also take small mammals, reptiles and birds if the opportunity arises. These marsupials even consume venomous snake species, such as rattlesnakes, as they are not susceptible to the venom of most snakes. Near water, opossums catch easy prey, such as crayfish and tadpoles. Opossums become a nuisance to farmers when they prey upon poultry or eggs. Opossums also become backyard pests when they raid trash cans or garbage bags.

The Virginia opossum actively hunts and forages throughout the winter and does not hibernate. Opossums may, however, retreat to a secure den or hole during extremely cold weather as the hairless parts of their bodies are vulnerable to frostbite.

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