Do Possums Eat Carrots?

Do Possums Eat Carrots?

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Possums (or technically opossums) are misunderstood marsupial mammals.

Despite their long snout with sharp teeth, possums rarely pose a threat to humans – your gardens, however, are another story.

Finding a possum raid through garbage or devouring pet food is not an uncommon sight for Northern America.

These nocturnal animals enjoy a varied diet ranging from carnivore to herbivore options. Therefore, it is no surprise that they enjoy having carrots as much as most other vegetables. Possums enjoy the sweetness of carrots. However, they will happily forage through garbage for stale or spoiled food.

Are Possums Picky Eaters?

There isn’t much that possums refuse to eat.

Opossum eating night
Opossum eating

Therefore, these omnivorous animals eat everything from:

  • snails
  • slugs
  • small rodents
  • insects
  • worms
  • birds
  • and frogs

Moreover, they also enjoy vegetarian alternatives like nuts, vegetables, fruits, and berries.

Possums do not let any feeding opportunity go to waste.

Apart from carrots, these nocturnal animals can feast on various garden vegetables through the night, including but not restricted to potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, and herbs.

If you have a well-maintained garden, possums can become a nuisance, wreaking havoc through the garden beds.

While possums enjoy decayed vegetables more than fresh ones, they resort to eating freshly planted vegetables in case of scarce food sources.

Key Takeaway: Possums need a calcium-rich diet, which they can get through carrion or roadkill. Apart from that, many pests fall prey to possums, making a beneficial garden visitor if they were not to feast on the garden beds.

What Do Possums Eat In The Wild?

Since possums are not very picky with what they eat, they fare well in wild and urban areas.

Virginia opossum night
Virginia opossum

However, regardless of their location, they need a versatile feed for a balanced diet.

Urban possums, thanks to garbage and garden raids, enjoy a comparatively diverse diet and use the infrastructure to their advantage, looking for easy-to-access places to feed.

Bird feeders, garbage cans, compost piles, gardens, and pet food bowls are some of their favorite foraging places. 

Wild possums quickly adapt to available food sources and are satisfied eating:

  • insects
  • crickets
  • slugs
  • snails
  • mice
  • frogs
  • and rats

They even enjoy a good mouthful of roadkill when they can.

If they cross paths with hens and chickens, their opportunistic nature takes over, and they will prey on them.

Overall, vegetables like carrots are an excellent addition to a possum’s diet due to their nutritional value; mammals need various other nutrients.

Therefore, if you are taking care of possums, make sure to feed them in moderation.

What Is An Australian Possum And Can It Eat Carrots?

In Northern America, the Virginia opossum is referred to as both possum and opossum.

Australian Possum climbing
Australian Possum

According to Merriam Webster, both these terms are correct. However, another species of marsupial mammals from Australia and New Guinea goes by the same name.

According to the dictionary, the Australian possums are technically phalangers.

Still, the northern American possum is defined as an opossum, and the Australian marsupial is defined under the term possum in the dictionary.

However, in general writing and conversation, “possum” is used for the Virginia species. 

Possum Vs. Opossum: Differences

Despite the same common name and similarities in appearance, the Virginia opossum and the Australian possum are two entirely different animals.

Some key differences include the appearance of bushier tails on some Australian possum species compared to the Virginia opossum’s bare tail.

The opossum is also larger than various possum species on average.

Interestingly, Australian possums cannot “play possum,” a rare defense mechanism unique to the opossums.

Opossums can play dead for up to 45 minutes where to they go into a comatose state, following predators into believing they are dead.

Possum Vs. Opossum: Diet Similarities

Even though there are significant differences between the two animals, one crucial similarity is their flexible diet.

Both animals have flexible diets. The Australian possum also feeds on an omnivorous diet, ranging from fruits, vegetables, greens, birdseed, pests, and pet food like the opossum.

Thus, like the opossum, Australian possums can definitely eat carrots; it is part of a balanced diet.

Why Is It Easy To Overfeed Possums?

Possums are notorious for that insatiable appetite; pair that with the slow marsupial metabolism, and it becomes increasingly easy to overfeed the nocturnal animals.

Possums eat bird seed at night

Unmonitored food intake and decreased activity can result in obesity.

Moreover, possums have an excellent memory, which helps them recall good food sources, where they return again and again for easy food availability.

Did You Know: Many jurisdictions do not allow possums to be kept as pets.

Bottom Line

Possums are not at all picky eaters and can live off a variety of vegetarian and carnivore feed options.

Thus, they can eat carrots and various other vegetables safely.

However, overconsumption of one food group of high-sugar feed can easily lead to obesity and other health problems as possums are deprived of a balanced diet.

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