Found an orphaned or injured opossum?

General Information

Frequently Asked Questions
(Opossum Problems and Solutions)

How To Help Opossums
For Wildlife Rehabilitators and Veterinarians
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Cannibalism in the Opossum
Opossum Paws and Prints
Fun for the Joeys (kids)
Opossum Defense Mechanisms
Opossum Gift Catalog
Send an Opossum e-Greeting Card
Opossum Photo Page
Educational Materials
There is An Opossum In My Yard! Problems/Solutions
Membership Information
Membership Application
Meeting and Special Events
Help by volunteering

Links to other sites
Virginia Opossum Normals


Amazon Smiles Donations

Shop while helping opossums! Search for any product above. 120x60

Opossum Defense Mechanisms

Description Picture

"Playing 'possum"

The opossum has an involuntary comatose-like state induced by extreme fear. Predators find “the kill” part of the stimulus to eat; therefore, an inert opossum does nothing to excite their appetite, and they will leave it alone. Somehow the opossum’s body knows when the danger has passed, and the opossum “comes to” again. Nature’s mystery!

Playing Possum




An opossum will work its jaw until excessive drool forms and it is actually blowing bubbles out of its nose! Heavy drooling causes a predator to think the opossum is sick and consequently unappetizing.

This opossum is not pregnant. She is carrying 9 infants in her pouch.




Even before opossums have teeth, they will gape their mouth in a threatening manner. (The babies do not realize that this is only impressive when they finally have teeth!) This act alone will keep many predators (including humans) at bay.

alligator_mouth.jpeg (92391 bytes)


Anal gland fluid


Fear can cause release of a greenish-colored anal fluid. Opossums cannot “spray”, and the only way this unpleasant-smelling body fluid can come in contact with you is if your clothes brush the anal area. It washes off easily.  


Please take a little time to enjoy our site. Bookmark it and Check back from time to time for Updates. 

Opossum Society Window Decal.

 Click on the above picture to purchase lots of cute items and support the 
Opossum Society of the United States 

© 2002 -2012 All Rights Reserved
Opossum Opossum Society of the United States