Do Possums Play Dead? How To Identify & Remove

Possums, also known as opossums, are small to medium-sized marsupials native to North America. They are known for their distinctive defence mechanism, which involves playing dead when threatened. This behaviour is known as “playing possum.”

But, do possums really play dead, or is it something else? In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at this behaviour and explore whether or not it’s a true case of playing dead.

Do Possums Play Dead How To Identify Remove

What is “Dead Playing Possum”?

When a possum is threatened, it may go into a state of shock and collapse. During this time, the possum will appear to be dead, with its body becoming limp and its eyes rolling back in its head. This response is triggered by a release of a chemical called glycine in the possum’s brain, which acts as a nerve blocker, causing the possum to become unconscious.

While in this state, the possum’s body will produce a foul-smelling liquid, which is believed to deter predators from eating it. The possum will also emit a hissing sound, further adding to the illusion of death.

The possum will remain in this state for several minutes, during which time the predator may lose interest and move on. Once the possum is no longer in danger, it will gradually regain consciousness and move away.

Is it Really Playing Dead?

While the behaviour of a possum playing possum might seem like it’s playing dead, it’s actually a form of shock and unconsciousness. This response is not a conscious decision made by the possum but rather an instinctual defence mechanism that has evolved over time.

When a possum is threatened, its body is in a state of high stress, and the release of glycine helps to protect it from injury or death. This is not the same as a conscious decision to play dead, and the possum has no control over the behaviour once it begins.

Identifying A Possum Playing Dead

If you encounter a possum that appears to be playing dead, here’s what you can look for:

Limp body: The possum’s body will become limp and lifeless, with its limbs and tail hanging limply.

Rolled back eyes: The possum’s eyes may roll back in its head, giving it a glassy or lifeless appearance.

Foul odour: The possum may emit a foul-smelling liquid, which is designed to deter predators.

Hissing sound: The possum may also make a hissing sound, adding to the illusion of death.

Removing Possums

If you have a possum in your yard or home, it’s important to remove it in a humane and safe manner. Possums are generally not aggressive and will only play possums if they feel threatened.

Here’s what you can do to remove a possum:

Here are several ways you can remove possums from your property:

Humane Traps: One of the most effective and humane ways to remove possums is to use a live trap. You can bait the trap with fruits or vegetables and place it near where you have seen the possum. Once trapped, you can release the possum in a wooded area far from your property.

Repellents: There are several repellents available in the market, including sprays and granules, that you can use to deter possums from your property. Some of these repellents contain unpleasant scents or tastes that possums find unappealing.

Exclusion Devices: You can use exclusion devices, such as barriers, screens, or one-way doors, to prevent possums from entering your home or garden. These devices allow possums to leave but prevent them from coming back in.

Light and Noise: Possums are nocturnal animals and are naturally afraid of bright lights and loud noises. You can use motion-activated lights or alarm systems to deter possums from your property.

Remove Attractants: Possums are attracted to food sources, so it’s important to remove any attractants from your property. This includes pet food, compost bins, and bird feeders. You should also keep your trash cans tightly sealed.

Remember, possums are protected under wildlife laws, and it’s illegal to harm or kill them. When removing possums, it’s important to follow humane and ethical possum removal methods, and if in doubt, consult a wildlife specialist for assistance. 

Why Get Professional Help For Possum Removal?

Getting professional help for removing possums and other pests can be a wise decision for several reasons. Pest control professionals have the expertise and experience to handle safe possum removal and other pest control tasks efficiently and effectively. They have access to specialised tools and techniques that can be used to safely remove possums and other pests from your property. They also understand the regulations and laws related to wildlife removal and can ensure that the removal is carried out humanely and in compliance with all relevant regulations. In addition, pest control professionals can also help prevent future infestations by identifying and sealing entry points, removing attractants, and providing other preventive measures. By working with a professional, you can ensure the safe and humane removal of possums and other pests from your property.

Call Professionals Now

You can hire professionals at Humane Possum Removal Brisbane to get rid of possums from your house in Brisbane. We offer both commercial and residential possum control services. 

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