A-z - Animals

How Long Do Possums Live?

How Long Do Possums Live?Opossums have a solid reputation as garage invaders and creepy creatures that roam our porches at night. These opossums hail from their homeland in North America.

Virginia opossums from North America aren’t the cutest animals; in fact, some people think they’re ugly. In fact, opossums are beneficial animals, but are often misunderstood.

Virginia opossums are a group of 70 species of arboreal marsupials that have pouches to raise young and are endemic to Australia, New Guinea and the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Possums and opossums are not the same animal, despite their similar names, and they are both marsupials. The Virginia opossum and its relatives in the genus Didelphis, both found in North and South America, are called opossums. But before you consider keeping this creature as a pet, make sure you have a permit from the authorities, as keeping wild animals in captivity is not permitted.

Both Possum and opossum are derived from the Native American term opossum, which means “white animal” in the Powhatan language. Opossums get a bad rap because they look like mice and are built like cats. On the other hand, these wily nocturnal creatures have a lot to offer. Possums eat parasitic ticks and garden pests and have a natural resistance to snake venom. Female opossums, also called jills, carry their young in pouches just like their marsupial cousins. Opossums are immune to snake bites or bee stings.

Read on to learn more about possum lifespan and how to care for them! After learning all about the lifespans of these marsupials, check out the lifespans of mice and rabbits.

What is Playing Possums?

Apparent death, commonly known as possum play, is a behavioral pattern in which different animals behave as if they are dead. Apparent death occurs in a wide range of species and can be used as a defense mechanism as well as a mechanism for aggressive mimicry. A person who lies motionless in order to convince others that he or she is dead is known as a possum.

The most famous fact about this North American animal is that it appears to be dead when a rival grabs him. It’s called “The Possum Game”. Watching this show for the first time, you will be blown away, as if you have seen a remarkable wild comedy. Deceit, on the other hand, is as common in animal life as it is in animal life, and it is pervasive. Catch a common ladybug (ladybug or ladybug) and when it helps you produce roses by eating aphids or plant lice, the insect pretends to be a dead twig; Hold its toes in the palm of your hand. Animals or certain species acted as if they were going to die within a short time, while others acted as if they were dying all the time, even refusing to respond to the fire that killed them.

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So, how long can the southern opossum live? Possums can have shorter lifespans in wild habitats, around three years or less, due to threat from predators. In captivity, possums can almost double their average lifespan if they receive proper nutrition from their owners. Still, the stress of captivity, lack of exercise, and restricted diets may affect their average lifespan.

Captive Virginia opossums can lead normal lives when kept as pets; thus their lifespan is increased. Possums need to eat the right food and the right meat to survive better.

How Long Do Possums Live In Captivity?

People occasionally come across orphaned Virginia opossums and consider keeping them as pets. However, it is illegal to keep possums without a wildlife rehabilitation permit, and healthy Virginia opossums can and should be released once they are mature enough to thrive on their own. Opossums are wild animals and do not do well in captivity, as these marsupials prefer to live in wild habitats. Trying to turn a possum into a pet can be expensive and distressing.

In wildlife habitats, these young marsupials must battle predators and vehicles, and opossums live to three years or less. With proper nutrition and care from trained keepers, this mammal can potentially double its lifespan in captivity. However, they can get sick quickly due to the stress, lack of exercise, and dietary restrictions that come with captivity, and you may find yourself investing emotion, time, and money in an animal that doesn’t live long. Virginia opossums born in the wild but captured can lead normal lives when kept as pets. However, they may develop bone calcium deficiency due to their refined diet. When hunting prey including bones in the wild, they eat the whole animal. This mammal should be fed cooked chicken with the bones still in captivity. For their calcium needs, they will eat mild cheeses, meats, insects, cottage cheese, and especially natural yogurt.

Why Do Possums Die So Quickly?

The typical lifespan of a North American opossum is one to two years. The presence of various carnivores such as dogs, cats, and humans contributes to their short lifespan. Opossums can sometimes avoid death by “playing ‘opossum,'” or simulating death, and predators lose interest in the dead animal and don’t eat it.


North American opossums live their lives in a hyperplacental world by simply following their species’ ruthless formula: grow fast, give birth to a large litter or two, then stop playing possums and die of old age. They died because most mammals of comparable size were just entering their prime. One of the easiest places to encounter possums in human territory is under your home. Why? Because it has everything a possum mother needs to raise her young, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find rock piles and other such places in the wild. These mammals are forced to live alongside humans. They have no choice in the matter. It was a kill or evolve situation, and the opossum chose to evolve. In some cases, this may be due to natural causes. They may have been infected with something or have been attacked by a larger animal. They may eat poison that people put on rats. Sometimes, it’s because they’re stuck with homeowners who are overly eager to take over their environment.

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What Do Possums Die of?

Dogs, coyotes, birds of prey, and large snakes are all predators that hunt possums. However, they are immune to snake venom as well as several diseases including Lyme disease. Juvenile possums are occasionally predated by their adult companions, affecting their lifespan. Starvation and exposure to the environment, especially cold, are the two main causes of death in possums, which takes their lives. Opossums often have their ear tips and tails amputated due to frostbite, which sometimes kills them.

Humans are the greatest threat to possum life. Possums eat carrion, which often includes roadkill. Because of their nocturnal nature, opossums often forage on highways at night, and they are sometimes hit or killed by cars. Additionally, possums that are frightened or injured and go into a catatonic state may be mistaken for dead. This may make humans feel obligated to free them from suffering. Possums have even been buried alive or thrown in the trash after being mistaken for death. People in North America have been known to mistreat possums, as they do many other animals. Possums were once highly prized for their fur and meat, and nocturnal hunting was a popular hobby. This is no longer a popular practice as the pelts and meat have lost their value.

How Do You Know If a Possum is Dead or Faking It?

It is taking a breath. If the possum is still breathing or feels warm to the touch, it is alive. If it is playing dead, it will be in a state of false paralysis and move relatively safely. It’s not a good idea to approach a possum with bare hands and feel it, but wearing gloves and moving it with a shovel while it’s playing dead is the best time to do so. To prevent the possum from biting you, grab it by the base of its tail and the nape of its neck if you try to move it with your hands.

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To be safe, the only thing you can do is wait. After about an hour, the opossum’s ears began to move slightly. This is the clue that you’re dealing with a performer. After four hours of dead ears, you can be pretty sure you’re looking at a dead animal. Contact the appropriate authorities (local veterinarian, wildlife rehabilitator or animal control). Before you dispose of a “dead” possum, trust it. It may be “playing the possum”, as an unconscious response to threat, the possum becomes unconscious in the presence of danger and appears to be dead. This may last anywhere from 40 minutes to four hours. The opossum becomes stiff, eyes glaze over, drooles, tongue sticks out of mouth, and green anal fluid may be seen at this point. Because many predators will give up on an attack if they think the possum is dead, this unique defense mechanism helps the possum survive a predator attack. Allow the possum to recover and leave the area to move on.


The lifespan of a Virginia opossum is determined by a variety of variables. Possums with “damaged” eyes or tails lived longer in captivity. Their way of life is harsh and harsh, especially when invaded by humans and dogs. Diet and exercise for captive possums can be difficult. It can be difficult to strike a balance between nutrition and exercise. On the plus side, animals in captivity may be treated for medical problems. It all depends on the person.

The oldest captive possum was four years and five months old. On the other hand, possums in the wild have a much shorter life expectancy and rarely make it past their first year. The oldest possum ever seen in the wild was just three years old. A litter of females can have up to 25 pups. However, only about half of the pups make it into the pouch after delivery. Possums produce two litters a year. After mating, the male, known as Jack, leaves and never returns. Female opossums, called jills, can give birth to up to 20 live young possums at a time after 12-13 days of gestation. When young, called joeys, are born, they’re about the size of a jelly bean. Young opossums scramble to complete development in their mother’s pouch. Even when the pups are grown, the mother will continue to carry them. Young possums spend about 100 days with their mothers. Most Joeys don’t survive. Joyces are sexually mature at 6 to 8 months of age and can live for one to two years.

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