When people think of possums they think of small animals tipping over trash cans looking for a meal. The idea of animals looking in our garbage for a meal makes them seem very unsanitary and pretty gross in our minds.
So, if they can eat garbage what else can they eat? Can possums eat mice? This article looks into it.
Possums can eat mice and they sometimes do but possums prefer not to, they prefer to eat plants and smaller weaker prey like insects, snails, and frogs
Do possums eat mice?
Possums are opportunistic feeders, they will eat almost anything put in front of them.
They aren’t very small either, these house cat-sized animals are much larger than mice. Because they are omnivores, they are able to eat both plant and animal matter. Possums eat mice as well.
Benefits of possums eating mice:
Mice are on the menu for a variety of predators, they are eaten by bobcats, owls, skunks, wolves, foxes, and coyotes to name a few. Mice are a good source of fluid for possums, eating mice keeps the animal from having to have to drink so much water to hydrate itself.
Eating mice will also benefit possums as mice contain protein. All animals need protein to survive. Protein is made up of amino acids, they combine to form protein.
Protein aids in cell regeneration and the development of body tissue. Cell regeneration and the development of body tissue is needed for the maintenance of the possum’s eyes, cartilage, muscles, liver, fur, skin, and ligaments
How do mice defend against possums:
Mice are very small animals, they are also very low on the food chain, both mice and predators know this.
Mice are regularly attacked because of their small size and their lack of defenses. Predators prefer smaller weaker prey because these animals are easier to catch while still being a satisfying meal.
Mice have a couple of tricks up their sleeve and ways to defend themselves against possums:
These tiny animals are known to be quick on their feet, they can run up to 8mph. Possums on the other hand can run up to 3.5 mph.
Many larger predators can outrun a mouse but a possum cannot. If a possum tries to chase an alert mouse, the mouse will simply run away. The possum may succeed in catching a mouse that is not alert
Its small size:
Possums are small to humans but mice are smaller, this small size is a huge benefit to mice as it helps them escape possums.
Mice can fit into small holes, cracks, under objects, or in small openings of walls. If a mouse manages to outrun a possum and find a hole, then it will be safe.
Biting and scratching:
A mouse won’t go down without a fight, if caught, or cornered, the mouse will bite at and scratch the possum in an effort to escape.
Adult possums are much larger than mice, mice usually have a fair chance of winning a fight against animals of a similar size if biting and scratching, but because the possum is so much larger, it will overpower and kill the mouse even with all the biting and scratching.
However, because the mouse has such sharp teeth, it can still do some damage when defending itself against a possum.
Why do possums prefer not to eat mice:
The reason why a possum will prefer not to attack and eat a mouse is that possums prefer to conserve energy when finding food. Preying on a mouse takes a lot of energy, in addition, the possum might get hurt while trying to kill and eat the mouse.
This is not the case when a possum goes out and looks for plant matter to eat. If it can, the possum will rather eat plant matter or easier prey like a snail or insects.
That being said they will still hunt and eat a mouse if there is nothing else available to eat
Will a possum eat a dead rat:
Because possums prefer to conserve energy when finding food they will certainly eat dead rats.
Possums eat a variety of roadkill regardless of the size and regardless of the animal, rats included.
Unfortunately, if the possum stays in the same spot and tries to eat the dead rat on the road, another car may come along and squash the possum as well.
These animals have not adapted fully to having to live in urban areas
Do possums keep rats away?
Possums will not keep rats away in the same way that pest control services will. Pest control happens in the wild between predators and rats but predators will not wipe out rat populations, only maintain them.
Similarly, possums will not wipe out rat populations in urban areas. In fact, if possums find alternative food sources, they will leave rats alone because they prefer not to have to exert too much energy when finding food.
However, because these animals generally eat the same types of food, (they are both omnivores and opportunistic feeders) this may help to keep the rat population down, but not wipe them out completely.
Will possums eat rat poison
Possums will eat rat poison and just like rats, they will die because of it.
Rat poison is very dangerous to rats, humans, possums, and other animals that eat it.
Rat baits are infused with foods or chemicals that attract rats, these will attract possums as well. When a possum eats this poison it will likely be killed after one serving.
In conclusion, yes possums do eat mice. Possums eat a variety of plants and animals, mice included.
These animals prefer easier to catch prey or food that doesn’t have to be caught, like plants, but they will eat mice if need be.
Mice will try to run away, scratch the possum or bite it to try to get away but because the possum is so large, the mouse will be overpowered by the possum.
Possums will not shy away from eating dead rats either, like roadkill, this is a satisfying meal that does not have to be chased.
If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other possum related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: What Do Possums Eat In The Garden? 11 Plants Possums Eat, Do Possums Eat Carrots? Benefits,3 Reasons Why They’re Loved