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The terms “possum” and “opossum” are frequently used interchangeably, despite the fact that they refer to two distinct species of wildlife. Let’s see what the actual differences are between the possum vs opossum.


Possums are marsupials that are native to Australia and are also known by the name brushtail possums. They have pointed ears, sharp claws, and bushy tails that help them climb trees. Their tails are thick and scraggly. They consume a wide variety of herbivorous foods, such as fruits, leaves, and flowers, as their primary source of nutrition. The strategy of “playing possum” refers to the ability of possums to imitate the appearance of death as a form of self-defense.


On the other hand, opossums are marsupials that are prevalent to the continent of North America. They have long snouts that are pointed at the end, teeth that are sharp, and prehensile tails that they use to grasp onto branches. They are also omnivores, which means that they consume a variety of food, such as fruits, insects, and even small critters. Opossums, like possums, have a defense mechanism that involves pretending to be dead; and is also referred to as “playing possum.”

What are the differences?

The size of the possum and the opossum is one of the most obvious differences between the two species of marsupial. Possums are typically shorter and lighter than other marsupials, with an average body length of approximately 40 centimeters (16 inches) and a weight of approximately 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). Opossums, on the other hand, have been known to reach a maximum body length of 100 centimeters (39 inches) and a maximum weight of 9 kilograms (20 pounds).

The environment in which they live is yet another significant distinction between them. Opossums are terrestrial, which means that they live primarily on the ground, in contrast to possums, which are arboreal, which means that they live primarily in trees. Opossums are found in a much wider variety of habitats than possums are, including forests, fields, and even urban areas, whereas possums are most commonly found in woodlands and eucalyptus forests.


In terms of their behavior, possums are typically solitary wildlife, whereas opossums are known to be social and frequently travel in groups. Possums are also known to have a longer lifespan than opossums. Opossums are known to be active during the day as well as at night, whereas possums are only active during the night.

In conclusion, possums and opossums may have names and defense mechanisms that are comparable to one another, but these two creatures belong to separate species that have distinguishable appearances, habitats, and behaviors. Keep in mind that possums are native to Australia, while opossums are native to North America. This is an important distinction to make. Possum vs Opossum. Know you know the difference!

Are you in need of opossum removal? Our friendly operators at Dallas Fort Worth Wildlife Control are available now at (817) 606-7607 or (972) 954-9244. Find out more about our opossum removal in Arlington and Fort Worth, TX.