What Do Possums Eat?

what do possums eat?
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What Do Possums Eat? Possums belong to marsupial mammals family within the animal kingdom. Numerous species of possums exist with a majority located in Australia. These organisms feed on a diverse diet. They are omnivorous meaning they consume fruits, flowers, nectar, leaves, insects, robins, parrots, adult kiwis, keas, and honeyeaters.

Let’s explore what do possums eat and their diets by different types of possums in this page.

Table of Contents

What Do Possums Eat?

Type of Possum Diet
Common Ringtail Possum Fruits, flowers, and leaves of eucalyptus trees
Sugar Glider Insects, pollen, tree sap, and manna
Feathertail Glider Manna, pollen, nectar, and insects.
Leadbeaters Possum Insects, millipedes, centipedes, honeydew, flower nectar, and leaves
Pygmy Possum Pollen, nectar, fruits, and insects
Brushtail Possum Fruits, leaves, and blossoms

Possums Diet by Their Types

Many possum species live in Australia (other species are notable in Papua New Guinea, Sulawesi, New Zealand, and China), and so the types of possums that will be discussed in this section are those found in this geographical location.

What Do the Common Ringtail Possums Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Diprotodontia Pseudocheiridae Pseudocheirus Pseudocheirus peregrinus

What Do Ringtail Possums Eat?The common Ringtail possums feed on fruits, flowers, and leaves of eucalyptus trees.

The common ring-tail possum’s scientific name is Pseudocheirus pereginus. This type of possum has variable colors but is tends to spot a light grey or rich red hue on the back and the sides. This type of possum occupies diverse habitats in Australia which include rainforests, thick vegetation, woodlands, and eucalyptus forests. Others live in suburban areas.

What Do Sugar Gliders Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Diprotodontia Petauridae Petaurus Petaurus breviceps

What Do Sugar Gliders Eat?Sugar Gliders are Opportunistic omnivores who eat depending on the availability of food. Their diet includes insects, pollen, tree sap, and manna.

This type of possum is silver grey. It is a small possum with a body length of about 200-300 mm. They got their name because they like eating sugary nectar. Its habitat is in the forest canopies, especially those of the eucalyptus and acacia trees.

What Do Feathertail Gliders Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Diprotodontia Acrobatidae Acrobates Acrobates pygmaeus

What Do Feathertail Gliders Eat?The feathertail gliders feed on manna, pollen, nectar, and insects.

This type of possum is considered to be the tiniest gliding possum. The feathertail glider gets its name because its tail resembles a bird’s feather. They live in woodlands, and forests, especially eucalyptus forests.

What Do Leadbeater’s Possums Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Diprotodontia Petauridae Gymnobelideus Gymnobelideus leadbeateri

What Do Leadbeater's Possums Eat?Leadbeater’s Possum is an omnivore who eats on insects, millipedes, centipedes, and a wide array of plant material (honeydew, flower nectar, and leaves).

This type of possum is scarce, and until the year 1961, it was thought to be extinct. Its habitat is mainly a tiny piece of land in the alpine and sub-alpine woodland forests situated in Victoria, Australia.

What Do Pygmy Possums Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Diprotodontia Burramyidae

What Do Pygmy Possums Eat?Pygmy Possums eat Pollen, nectar, fruits, and insects.

This type of possum are agile climbers and are their family is divided into two genera (Burramys and Cercartetus). Their habitats are mainly in rainforests (dense), woodlands, coastal heathlands, sclerophyll forests, woodlands, and mallee scrubs.

What Do Brushtail Possums Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Diprotodontia Phalangeridae Trichosurus Trichosurus vulpecula

What Do Brushtail Possums Eat?In the wild, Brushtail possums eat fruits, leaves, and blossoms.

Those living in suburban areas eat just about anything. This type of possum often makes contact with people, and its habitat includes urban areas, woodlands, heath, and forests.

How Do Possums Hunt?

How Do Possums Hunt?

Notable types of possums like meat. They hunt for their prey using an interesting mechanism. The Mountain pygmy possum, for instance, hunts by simply entering its prey’s nest at night and then proceeds to launch an attack. The same mechanism is used by sugar gliders and squirrel gliders.

When do Possums Eat?

When Do Possums Eat?

Possums are strict nocturnal marsupials meaning they are active at night. The implication is that they feed between dusk and dawn.

How Often Do Possums Eat?

How Often Do Possums Eat?

Possums feeding behavior depends on several factors. For instance, the mountain pygmy possum changes its feeding habits during winter when food is scarce, meaning they feed less often during these periods.

Further, a possum feeding on plant matter may need to feed as often compared to another feeding on small animals. Additionally, feeding is determined by the availability of food.

What Eats Possums?

What Eats Possums?

Possums have a vast range of predators who vary depending on their habitats. Some of their most common predators include foxes, birds of prey, dogs, monitor lizards, snakes, and cats.

Where Do Possums Fit in the Animal Food Chain?

Possums in Animal Food Chain

Possums are instrumental to the animal food chain because they provide food to the animals that eat them. They also prevent overpopulation of some animal species because they prey on them.

Possums Vs. Opossums: Similarities and Differences

Possums are different from opossums although these two animals are often confused with one another. The one similarity between these two organisms is that they are marsupials. Their exact difference is evidenced by the scientific orders they belong to.

Opossums are from the order Didelphimorphia, and the possums are from the order Diprotodontia. Other differences between the two organisms are in their physical descriptions and the geographical location which they are found.

Cite this article as: "What Do Possums Eat?," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, June 16, 2017, https://www.bioexplorer.net/what-do-possums-eat.html/.

Key References

  • Bada, Ferdinand. “What Is the Difference Between a Possum and an Opossum?” WorldAtlas. May 01, 2018. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-the-difference-between-a-possum-and-an-opossum.html.
  • “Common Brushtail Possum – The Australian Museum.” Accessed June 16, 2019. https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/mammals/common-brushtail-possum/.
  • “Common Ring-Tail Possum.” Wildlifeqld. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.wildlifeqld.com.au/possums/ringtail/.
  • “Feathertail Glider.” The Australian Museum. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/mammals/feathertail-glider/.
  • “Leadbeater’s Possum Facts.” Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.leadbeaters.org.au/facts/.
  • “Leadbeater’s Possum Leadbeater’s Possum Facts.” Leadbeater’s Possum Description, Habitat, Diet, Reproduction, Facts. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://panique.com.au/trishansoz/animals/leadbeaters-possum.html.
  • “Mountain Pygmy Possum Habitat, Diet & Reproduction.” Australian Reptile Park – Wildlife Park Sydney & Animal Encounters Australia. May 22, 2017. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://reptilepark.com.au/animals/mammals/mountain-pygmy-possum/.
  • “Possums Aren’t the Gentle Vegetarians You Thought They Were.” Australian Geographic. September 02, 2018. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/blogs/wild-journey/2017/04/killer-possums/.
  • “Pygmy Possums.” Bush Heritage Australia. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.bushheritage.org.au/species/pygmy-possums.
  • “Sugar Glider What Is a Sugar Glider?” Sugar Glider – Possum – Habitat – Diet – Babies – Pets – Facts. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://panique.com.au/trishansoz/animals/sugar-glider-possum.html.
  • “Top 10 Facts About Possums in Australia.” Bird Gard Australia. June 13, 2019. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.birdgard.com.au/articles/top-10-facts-about-possums.
  • “Takver.” Flickr. June 16, 2019. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/.
  • “File:Ringtail Possum. Brisbane.jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed June 16, 2019. Link.
  • “File:Feathertail glider, Acrobates pygmaeus (Tony Rees photograph).jpg – Wikimedia Commons”. Accessed June 16, 2019. Link.
What Do Possums Eat?
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