Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres

What is a Possum?

Last updated date: 01st Mar 2024
Total views: 115.5k
Views today: 1.15k
hightlight icon
highlight icon
highlight icon
share icon
copy icon

Introduction to Possums

Possums are members of the marsupial family. Mostly found in Australia and New Zealand while some spaces like opossums are found in America. They are small animals which are omnivores in nature meaning they can eat both plants and meat. Their size is almost similar to a cat. When they find themselves in danger they pretend to be dead. Almost 70 species of possums are found in Australia. They adapt themselves according to the environment. Death sleeps during the day and awakens at night.

What is a possum?

The possum is a nocturnal animal. By nocturnal we mean animals which are active at night. The size of the Possum is just similar to that of a cat. When they find something threatening to their life they start acting as if they were dead. That’s why they are called playing possums. The skin colour of the possum is white with black eyes and black ears. They are mainly found in Australia. Possums have thick and long tails. The size of possums is from 1 ounce to 20 pounds according to their species. Possums have softer features and their bodies are rounded.



What do Possums Eat?

Possums are Omnivorous animals. Omnivorous animals are those animals which can eat both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. So they can eat insects, fruits, rodents, dead animals and plants. Mainly they eat insects but they can eat whatever they get including garbage so the food they are eating mainly depends upon the environment where they are living.  They have a very good-smelling sense. They can smell food easily And locate it even at a far away position. Possum searches for food during the night. Possum mouth consists of 50 teeth which helps them chew hard food very easily. Their eating habits also change according to the season. In winter they prefer to eat plant matter while in summer they prefer to eat more non-vegetarian food as an abundant amount of animal matter is present. Baby possums only drink their mother's milk.

Food of possum

Food of Possum

What Kind of Animal is a Possum?

Possum is a mammal, they belong to marsupials. Marsupials are mammals which have pouches on their stomach where they can carry their newly born babies. They live in trees. However, their habitat may depend upon the spaces they can be terrestrial, semi-aquatic or arboreal. Terrestrial species are those species which live on land, aquatic species are those species which live on both land and water and arboreal species are those species which live on trees. Their sense of smell is highly developed while their hearing and eyesight are less developed. Possums sleep during the day and are awake during the night; they spend most of their night in search of food. They can reproduce two times a year. The male is called Jack after mating and the female is called Jills. At a time they can give birth to up to 20 young ones. These babies are called joeys.

Biological Species of Possum

69 species of possums are known. The word possum is derived from the word opossum means white animal. Some spaces of possums are brushtail possums having long thick tails, ringtail possums, cuscus possums are the largest possums. However, some species are an endangered category. Brushtail possums are commonly found while ringtail possums are critically endangered species.

Different species of possum

Different species of possum

Solved questions:

Q1. What is a possum?

Ans: Possum is a nocturnal animal whose size is just similar to the size of a cat. Possums have pouches on their belly just  Like kangaroos where they can nourish their young ones.

Q2.  Why is Possums an omnivore animal?

Ans: Because they can eat both plants as well as meat according to the environment where they are living.

Q3. Why do they pretend that they are dead?

Ans: When they find themselves in danger they pretend that they are dead.


In this article, we learned about a small fascinating animal called a possum. It is a small animal similar to a cat's size. They can eat both plants as well as meat. According to the environment, they adapt to their eating habits and even eat garbage. They have special abilities when they find themselves in danger they act like they are dead. Almost 69 spaces of possums are found while some species are an endangered category.

FAQs on What is a Possum?

1. What are marsupials?

Marsupials are mammals which have pouches on the stomach to carry their young ones.

2. What are male Possums called after mating?

Male possums are called jack after mating.

3. What female Possums are called after mating?

Female possums are called Jills after mating.

4. What is the skin colour of a possum?

The skin colour of the possum is white while the colour of its eyes and ears is black.

5. How do possums locate their food?

Possums have a very good sense of smell while their sense of sight and hearing is less developed so with the sense of smell they locate their food.