Opossums are peaceful animals that prefer not to fight although they may hiss, growl, and even bite if cornered. DEAR MIKE: Opossums are notorious for playing dead when they are threatened or in fear, but actually, they aren’t playing at anything. Their habit of eating disease-carrying ticks and dead stuff … "And when all else fails, they 'play possum' and act as if they are dead. Possum is the name given to a variety of marsupials found entirely in Australia, New Guinea and parts of Indonesia. Opossum are not aggressive: their open-mouth, defensive hissing is merely a bluff to look vicious. They will play dead as a defensive tactic. The term “playing possum” means to remain quiet and still – opossums fall over and appear to be dead. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below. They would roll over, stay still, breathe slowly and even drool. Possums often ‘play dead’ when they are cornered by a predator. To avoid predators, an opossum may move to a different nest every few days. Possums playing dead If by any chance you see them lying around immobile, don’t assume that they’re dead. When an opossum is scared, its body shuts down and the animal goes stiff, with its teeth bared, and saliva drips from its open mouth. Possums are found throughout eastern North America. The dental formula is: 5.1.3.44.1.3.4 × 2 = 50 teeth. A four-year old wild opossum is a rarity. This is an involuntary response to a stressful situation that causes the opossum to … Defense Mechanism: Description: Picture “Playing ‘possum” The opossum has an involuntary comatose-like state induced by extreme fear. In the face of … I’ve just been informed by Sam in the comments below that American opossums play dead when threatened. As a result, when we talk about opossums "playing dead," many take the word "playing" literally and assume that opossums are using some kind of instinctive—but voluntary—defense mechanism. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. The playing dead thing that is common with possums is something that is involuntary. Occasionally, fights break out and the opossums inflict serious injury with their sharp teeth. If they cannot escape, they will fall down and play dead. Thanks to their whole acting-and-smelling-like-a-corpse … Second, if they feel they are in real danger, they might “play possum” and have the appearance of being dead. Bills says, “Typically, opossums tend to sit and roll on their side and give off a foul odor. During this time, the opossum lies on its side, becomes stiff, the eyes glaze over, the opossum drools, the tongue lolls out the side of the mouth, and green anal fluid may be seen. As President and CEO of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, he has more than 30 years’ experience in the wildlife control industry and has seen almost every animal trick in the book. Their natural defence mechanism is to literally play dead… They’re more likely to drop to the ground and play dead in an attempt to avoid confrontation. Sam wondered if Australian possums do the same? Or, more to the point, does their body take a while to recover from the involuntary catatonic state they go into when “playing dead,” and would this one recover if left alone, I wondered, hopefully. They play dead to avoid confrontations with predators. a possum will often act dead when faced with a situation it doesn't want to deal with. Coyotes, foxes, and dogs are a few predators that like to eat opossums. If you ever hear scratching noises or any other suspicious sounds around your house, immediately inspect your property yourself or call someone to do so. And if that doesn’t work they play dead when really scared! The opossum has no control over it, and will not remember how long it was in the comatose state for. Opossums can, however, carry other diseases like tularemia, tuberculosis, spotted fever and toxoplasmosis. What many people don’t know is that this animal is not playing dead. Do Opossums Help To Get Rid Of Ticks? They Showed Us How to “Play Possum” Despite their fierce looking grin and what might sound like an aggressive hiss, possums aren’t interested in tangling with trouble. They can get into attics and under houses, especially in crawlspaces. By mammalian standards, this is an unusually full jaw. Playing possum, when someone comes to your house that you don't want to … Predators find “the kill” part of the stimulus to eat; therefore, an inert opossum does nothing to excite their appetite, and they will leave it alone. THEY’RE CONSTANTLY SELF-GROOMING. This is because they have no real defense besides showing their teeth or playing dead. They aren’t a threat, and more than likely they will be moving on in a short while. Do Opossums Carry Diseases Like Rabies? The incisors are very small, the canines large, and the molars are tricuspid. Possums do not play dead. This may last from 40 minutes to 4 hours. The life span of opossums is very short. Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. They can weigh up to 23 lbs. When the opossum feels that he is no longer in danger, he will revive himself and move on. If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. RACCOONS. In a conversation with people, there emerged the (sort of creepy) concept of picking up dead mice that your cats have found, throwing them away and realizing (after finding an empty garbage can) that the mouse wasn’t in fact dead. “Believe it or not the saying playing opossum is pretty true.” That is according to Bill Dowd and he should know. Leave the possums for about four hours. It may be "playing possum" as an involuntary response to a threat, in which the opossum becomes comatose in the face of danger and appears dead. They're "pretending" to hold still, but really they're cannily waiting for danger to pass. As the term suggest, it came from the odd characteristic of Opossums: They literally feign death when faced with larger animals like foxes, wolves, and even humans. Possums will play dead if they are threatened. Both my cats were wary around the chewed dead possum when let out in the morning. It is much more likely that the opossum will faint or “play dead” at the prospect of a confrontation. Below is more information to help you understand this unique action. This provides them with a dexterity that many animals do not have. Do possums faint or play dead? They show off their teeth, and since they actually have the mos… Opossums are typically harmless to humans and are omnivores that tend to “play dead” when they are scared. Make sure that a possum is really dead before disposing of it. When an opossum “plays dead”, it is actually an involuntary reaction to stress. Possums are slow movers but are highly skilled climbers. Do opossum also play injured? When faced with a threat, opossums will often play dead by “playing possum. They are used to seeing possums in the live capture Duck trap. In one study, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, a single male opossum outfitted with a tracking device visited 19 different dens in five months. The fear of facing a confrontation leads to shock that induces a state of comatose, and can last from as … A Possums front feet have five fingers, while their rear feet have four fingers and an opposing thumb. Only humans and primates have opposing thumbs. Something was bothering my cats, and it was not the possum. What Does It Mean to Play Dead? It looked to have been carefully gutted with the gut left to the side while the muscle of the inner thighs had been eaten to the bone. It is an involuntary response (like fainting) rather than a conscious act. When I inquired if it was possible to pick up a living mouse, I was informed that sometimes mice play possum until it’s safe. Funnily enough, opossums (which are native to America) are generally non-aggressive animals. Raccoons can range from just under 2 feet long to just over 3 feet long. This action is involuntary and usually happens if the animal is frightened. If not, and if the injury was as bad as it seemed, it might end up stuck, and cornered. This is one response that makes a big part of the opossum as we know it. They tend to be semi-arboreal omnivores, although there are many exceptions. Possums don't always play dead By adamg on Tue, 07/26/2016 - 8:19am Mike Ball bravely photographed this snarly, ravenous opossum at the Fairmount commuter-rail station this morning. 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