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. Possums playing dead If by any chance you see them lying around immobile, don’t assume that they’re dead. 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. The term “playing possum” means to remain quiet and still – opossums fall over and appear to be dead. Opossums can “play dead,” so even if you see one in your yard that looks like it might be dead, keep a safe distance and continue to monitor it. Something was bothering my cats, and it was not the possum. This is an involuntary response to a stressful situation that causes the opossum to … a possum will often act dead when faced with a situation it doesn't want to deal with. 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. If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. By mammalian standards, this is an unusually full jaw. The playing dead thing that is common with possums is something that is involuntary. And if that doesn’t work they play dead when really scared! “Believe it or not the saying playing opossum is pretty true.” That is according to Bill Dowd and he should know. Possums will play dead if they are threatened. When an opossum “plays dead”, it is actually an involuntary reaction to stress. Coyotes, foxes, and dogs are a few predators that like to eat opossums. When faced with a threat, opossums will often play dead by “playing possum. 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. Opossum are not aggressive: their open-mouth, defensive hissing is merely a bluff to look vicious. They can get into attics and under houses, especially in crawlspaces. The life span of opossums is very short. 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. Funnily enough, opossums (which are native to America) are generally non-aggressive animals. Do opossum also play injured? The fear of facing a confrontation leads to shock that induces a state of comatose, and can last from as … When the opossum feels that he is no longer in danger, he will revive himself and move on. The dental formula is: 5.1.3.44.1.3.4 × 2 = 50 teeth. If they cannot escape, they will fall down and play dead. Below is more information to help you understand this unique action. 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. They play dead to avoid confrontations with predators. They're "pretending" to hold still, but really they're cannily waiting for danger to pass. They aren’t a threat, and more than likely they will be moving on in a short while. They are used to seeing possums in the live capture Duck trap. Both my cats were wary around the chewed dead possum when let out in the morning. Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials that grow to the size of a house cat. What Does It Mean to Play Dead? No, they don’t, they make a sound, you can listen to it on the following post: Strange Australian Back Garden Beastie Sounds DEAR MIKE: Opossums are notorious for playing dead when they are threatened or in fear, but actually, they aren’t playing at anything. Second, if they feel they are in real danger, they might “play possum” and have the appearance of being dead. Opossum “Playing Possum” You may have heard of the term “playing possum” which basically means to “play dead”. Possums are slow movers but are highly skilled climbers. Do Opossums Carry Diseases Like Rabies? 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 a common thing that opossums do whenever they feel cornered. Most members of this order have long snouts, a narrow braincase, and a prominent sagittal crest. 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. This provides them with a dexterity that many animals do not have. This action is involuntary and usually happens if the animal is frightened. 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. "And when all else fails, they 'play possum' and act as if they are dead. THEY’RE CONSTANTLY SELF-GROOMING. In the face of … Sam wondered if Australian possums do the same? What many people don’t know is that this animal is not playing dead. If not, and if the injury was as bad as it seemed, it might end up stuck, and cornered. 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. 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