What Do Possums Eat in the Garden?

Do you have a possum problem in your garden? If so, you’re not alone. Possums are becoming increasingly common in urban areas, and they can cause a lot of damage to gardens and plants. In this article, we will discuss what possums eat in the garden, as well as some tips for deterring them from your property. We’ll also cover some information about the habits and behavior of possums so that you can better understand these animals.

Possums and Their Behavior

Possums are small to medium-sized marsupials that look similar to a large rat. They have pointy noses, long tails, and furry bodies. Possums are nocturnal animals, so they are most active at night. Possums are nocturnal animals, so they are most likely to be active at night while during the day, they sleep in trees or burrows.. If you see one during the day, it is probably because it has been disturbed or is sick. Possums are very shy animals and will usually try to avoid humans.

Possums are excellent climbers and can climb almost any surface.
They have sharp claws that help them grip onto surfaces. Possums use their tails for balance when they are climbing.

Possums are omnivores, which means they will eat just about anything. Possums are not picky eaters and will often eat things that other animals would not touch, such as rotten fruit, garbage, and even dead animals. Unfortunately, when possums find their way into our gardens, they don’t discriminate between what’s good for them and what’s not. This can result in some serious damage to your plants and vegetables. This makes them a nuisance to many homeowners who find them rummaging through their trash cans or raiding their fruit trees.

Possums and Their Behavior

What do possums eat in the garden? The answer is: a lot of things! Possums will eat just about any type of plant or vegetable. Possums will also eat insects, grubs, slugs, and snails. If you have a garden, it is likely that a possum has visited at some point and helped themselves to your crops!

While possums can be a nuisance, they are actually beneficial to have around. Possums help control the population of harmful pests such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. They also help spread seeds from the fruit and vegetables they eat, which helps to keep gardens healthy and thriving.

If you do find a possum in your garden or trash can, there is no need to be alarmed. These animals are not aggressive and will usually go away on their own after a few minutes. However, if you find a possum inside your home, it is best to call a professional to have it removed. Possums can carry diseases such as rabies, which can be harmful to humans and pets. [1],[2]

Why are Possums Attracted to Gardens?

Possums are attracted to gardens for a variety of reasons. One reason is that gardens provide an abundance of food. Possums are omnivores, which means they will eat both plants and animals. Some of the plants that possums enjoy include fruits, vegetables, flowers, and leaves. In addition to plants, possums will also eat insects, snails, slugs, and even small rodents. Another reason possums are attracted to gardens is for shelter. Possums are nocturnal creatures and during the day they like to find a safe place to sleep. Gardens offer plenty of places for possums to hide such as under decks, in bushes, or in sheds. Finally, gardens offer a source of water for possums. Possums need to drink water daily and will often visit gardens to find a water source.

What Possums Eat?

Now that you have a surface-level understanding of what possums are, as well as what attracts them to gardens, it is time to dive into the topic of what possums eat. As we stated before, possums will eat both plants and animals.

Possums are not picky eaters and will often eat things that other animals would not touch. This includes rotten fruit, garbage, and even dead animals. In large urban areas you will see possums rummaging through trash cans or raiding fruit trees. While this might be annoying to some homeowners, it is important to remember that possums are just trying to find food.

What Possums Eat?

Of course, not all possums will eat the same things. The type of food a possum eats depends on the region it lives in, as well as the time of year. For example, a possum living in Australia will have a different diet than a possum living in North America.

Tomatoes

When it comes to garden vegetables, possums enjoy eating tomatoes the most. Possums are attracted to the sweet taste of ripe tomatoes and will often eat them right off the vine.

If you have a tomato garden, it is likely that a possum has visited at some point and helped themselves to your crops!

Carrots

Possums are opportunistic eaters and will generally eat whatever they can find. This means that they are just as likely to eat carrots as any other type of food. However, possums prefer foods that are high in fat and protein, so they may not eat as many carrots as other types of food.

Zucchini

One of the most common vegetables that possums eat is zucchini. Zucchini is a type of summer squash that is typically green or yellow in color. Possums enjoy eating both the flesh and the seeds of zucchini. If you have a garden, it is likely that a possum has helped themselves to your crops at some point!

Strawberries

Sometimes possums will eat strawberries that are still on the plant. However, they are more likely to eat strawberries that have already fallen to the ground. Possums are attracted to the sweet taste of strawberries and will often eat them right off the vine. So if you are concerned about possums eating your strawberries, it is best to pick them as soon as they are ripe!

Cucumbers

One of the most common vegetables that possums eat are cucumbers. Cucumbers are a type of gourd that belongs to the same family as squash and pumpkins. Possums enjoy eating cucumbers because they are crunchy and have a high water content. Cucumbers are also relatively easy for possums to find since they often grow in gardens or on vines near the ground.

Bell peppers

Possums are not afraid to try new foods and will often eat things that other animals would not touch. Possums are also known to eat bell peppers. Bell peppers are a type of vegetable that is commonly found in gardens. Possums enjoy eating bell peppers because they are sweet and juicy.

Tree fruits

One of the most common things possums eat are tree fruits. Possums love to eat apples, bananas, oranges, and other types of tree fruit. If you have a fruit tree in your garden, it is likely that a possum has helped themselves to your crops at some point!

Possums will also eat the leaves and stems of plants. While this might not seem like a lot, over time it can really add up! If you have a garden with leafy greens or other plants, it is important to keep an eye out for possums.

Lettuce

One of the most common things possums eat is lettuce. Lettuce is a type of leafy green vegetable that is often found in gardens. Possums enjoy eating lettuce because it is soft and easy to chew. Lettuce is also a good source of nutrients for possums. Possums will often eat the entire head of lettuce, stem and all. This can be problematic for gardeners who are trying to grow their own food. Besides lettuce, possums can also feed on other types of leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collards.

Cabbage

Another similar plant that possums enjoy eating is cabbage. Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable that is often found in gardens. Possums will eat both the leaves and the stem of the cabbage plant.

Possums are attracted to cabbage because it is an easy food source. Cabbage plants are usually found close to the ground, which makes them easy for possums to reach. Cabbage is also a nutrient-rich food that helps possums stay healthy.

Cabbage

If you have a cabbage plant in your garden, it is likely that a possum has eaten some of it. While this can be frustrating, it is important to remember that possums are just trying to find food. If you do not want possums eating your cabbage, there are a few things you can do. [1],[2],[3],[4]

Are There Any Benefits to Possums in the Garden?

As you can see, there’s a lot of debate on whether possums are a friend or foe to the average gardener. However, some people believe that possums are actually misunderstood creatures that can actually be beneficial to gardens. Possums are actually quite timid animals and are more likely to flee than to fight when they encounter humans but as long as you take the necessary precautions to protect your plants, you can use possums to your benefit!

They don’t dig holes in the ground

One of the benefits of having possums in your garden is that they don’t dig holes in the ground like other animals such as rabbits or rodents. This means that your plants are safe from being uprooted and damaged.

However they may choose to occupy an existing hole or build a nest in your garden, so it’s important to be aware of this.
Possums also don’t eat poisonous plants so you don’t have to worry about them accidentally ingesting something harmful.

They help you get rid of small pests and insects

One of the main benefits of possums in the garden is that they help you get rid of small pests and insects. Possums are known to eat a wide variety of small pests and insects, including snails, slugs, cockroaches, beetles, ants, and even rats! By eating these pests and insects, possums can actually help to protect your plants from damage.

The remove harmful pathogens from the environment

Possums are actually known to be able to clean up gardens by removing harmful pathogens from the soil. For example, they have no problem consuming bones and carcasses that may be infected with harmful bacteria. This helps to clean up the environment and make it safer for other animals and humans alike.

However, there are some disadvantages. [5]

How to Prevent Possum Issue in Your Garden

Overall, possums can actually be beneficial to gardens if they are managed properly. However, it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect your plants from being harmed by possums.

How to Prevent Possum Issue in Your Garden

Sometimes however, you might not be able to prevent them from causing damage and you will need to get rid of them. If this is the case, there are a few things you can do to get rid of possums in your garden.

Seal the potential entryways

The first thing you need to do is figure out how the possums are getting into your garden in the first place. Once you have determined this, you can take steps to seal off these entryways. Possums are small animals and can squeeze through tiny spaces, so it is important to make sure that all potential entry points are sealed shut. This might include repairing holes in fences, sealing gaps under doors, or installing screens over vents.

Use moth balls

Moth balls are a great way to keep possums away from your garden. All you have to do is spread them around the perimeter of your garden and they will keep the possums out. Moth balls are also effective at keeping other animals away, so it’s a good idea to use them even if you don’t have a possum problem.

Another thing you can do is to make sure that there is nothing for the possums to eat in your garden. This means keeping your garbage cans sealed tight and not leaving any food out. If there is nothing for the possums to eat, they will likely move on to another area.

Spray natural deterrents

Some possums are repelled by certain smells, so you can try spraying your plants with a natural deterrent. You can make a homemade spray using water and either garlic or peppermint oil. Simply add a few drops of the oil to a cup of water and mix well. Then, transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz it on your plants.

You can also purchase commercial possum repellents that contain natural ingredients like capsaicin (pepper) extract, citronella oil, and clove oil. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label when using these products.

If you have pets, be sure to keep them away from any areas that have been sprayed with possum repellent.

Saturate towels in ammonia and place them around your garden

Possums dislike the smell of ammonia and will stay away from areas that are saturated in the substance. You can make your own possum repellent by soaking towels in ammonia and placing them around your garden. Be sure to reapply the towels every few days or as needed.

You can also use commercial possum repellents that contain ammonia. These products are available at most hardware stores and can be applied directly to plants or around the perimeter of your garden.

Install traps

One of the most effective ways to get rid of possums is to install traps. There are a variety of different types of traps available, so be sure to choose one that is best suited for your particular situation.

Install traps

One kind of trap you can use is a live trap. These work by luring the possum into the trap with food and then closing the door behind them, preventing them from getting out. These traps can be baited with a variety of different foods, but some of the most effective include:

  • Fruits such as apples, bananas, or watermelons
  • Vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, or potatoes
  • Meat such as chicken, fish, or beef

You will need to check the trap regularly to see if there is a possum inside and if so, release it far away from your property. Be sure to wear gloves when handling the trap and possum to avoid getting bitten.

Another option is to hire a professional pest control company to get rid of the possums for you. This is often the most effective way to deal with possums, but it can also be the most expensive.

After taking these precautions, you should start seeing a reduction in the number of possums in your garden. [6]


FAQ

Do possums bite humans?

Possums are generally shy animals and will try to avoid confrontation with humans. However, if they feel threatened, they may bite in self-defense. Possums have sharp teeth that can cause serious wounds, so it’s important to be careful around them.

If you encounter a possum in your garden, the best thing to do is to leave it alone. If you need to remove a possum from your property, contact your local wildlife authorities for assistance.

Do possums keep rats away?

Possums are known to eat rats, so having them in your garden may help to keep the rat population down. However, they will also eat other small animals such as mice and birds, so you may not want them around if you have pets that spend time outside.

What do possums eat the most?

Possums are omnivores, so they eat both plants and animals. However, they seem to prefer eating meat over vegetables. Their diet consists mainly of insects, small mammals (such as rodents), birds, eggs, and carrion (dead animals). Fruits and vegetables make up a smaller part of their diet but possums will still eat them if given the chance.

What kind of fruit do possums eat?

Possums are drawn to gardens because of the fruit. Ripe fruits such as apples, pears, plums, and grapes are all possum favorites. If you have a garden with fruit trees, it’s likely that a possum has visited at some point.

What kind of fruit do possums eat?

While possums will eat almost any type of fruit, they seem to prefer soft fruits like berries. This is because their teeth are not well-suited for crunching through hard surfaces. So if you find that your berries are disappearing faster than usual, there’s a good chance a possum is to blame.

How can I feed a possum?

A possum’s diet consists of mostly vegetation, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and leaves. Possums are also known to eat insects, snails, and small vertebrates. If you’re wondering what to feed a possum in your garden, consider offering them a variety of these foods.

Are possums good to have around?

Most people think possums are a nuisance, but they can actually be quite beneficial to have around. Possums are known to eat rodents and other small animals, so they can help keep your garden free of pests. They are also proficient at climbing, so they can help remove any fruit that is out of reach.

Possums are nocturnal animals, so you’re unlikely to see them during the day. If you do happen to see one during the day, it’s probably because it’s sick or injured. Healthy possums should be left alone, as they pose no threat to humans or pets. However, if you have a sick or injured possum on your property, it’s best to call a wildlife rehabilitation center.

Useful Video: Possums! Gardener’s Friend or Foe? What Possums Eat.

Conclusion

Possums are interesting creatures that can be beneficial to have around. But they also can eat your fruits and vegetables, which can be frustrating. By knowing what possums eat in the garden, you can take steps to keep them away from your plants or even attract them to another area of your property.

There are a variety of things that possums eat in the wild, but they seem to prefer soft fruits and vegetables when given the chance. If you have possums eating your garden plants, try taking some preventive measures like fencing off the area or using netting. You can also try attracting them to another part of your yard with a food source that they prefer. Whatever method you choose, make sure it is safe for both you and the possum! Thanks for reading!


References:

  1. https://blog.nwf.org/2014/07/opossums-and-gardening-a-few-things-to-know/
  2. https://www.hortmag.com/headline/all-about-opossums-in-the-yard-and-garden
  3. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/beneficial/what-do-opossums-eat.htm
  4. https://kidadl.com/facts/what-do-possums-eat-surprising-facts-you-won-t-believe
  5. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/beneficial/benefits-of-opossums.htm
  6. https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/opossum-deterrents/5459.html