Do possums hiss?

For people who have not encountered possums you may not know their behaviors. The question above is relevant to possum habits and the answer is yes they hiss.

Why do they hiss?
Possums are very shy and unaggressive animals. This means that they never attack other animals unless they absolutely have to. However, this doesn’t mean they do not have other ways to detract hunters or perceived enemies. They make differentnoises depending on the species. Sometimes it could be a growling sort of a sound, screeching, clicking and hissing. Our question of interest though is the clicking sound.

Some of the following reasons may cause possums to hiss are;
• Fright or being startled: Like many others animals, they do not handle being started or afraid very kindly. They will therefore hiss to sound warning to the intruder.
• When angry: an angry possum also uses hissing sounds to communicate displeasure at certain goings on at given times. For instance, if you are poking at it with a stick, it will hiss at you to show you how mad it is.

What happens when this does not work?
If the hissing and baring of teeth does not work, a possum has the following options.

• Run- unfortunately possums have not been gifted with speed; therefore it will merely scamper away in an effort to outrun the enemy.
• Fight back- if bad comes to worse they will fight back. Of course this is not one of their favorite hobbies, but cornered possums will bite the bullet and get into battle. While their teeth may not be as strong as rats, they will bite. You do not want to have bites from possums as the injury may be nasty and you may contract disease.
• Playing dead- this is the best defense for possums. Basically, when a possum is overwhelmed, it will drop down and ‘die’. This is just a ruse to trick the enemy it is dead. What is more surprising is it can remain in this position for many hours.

How does this information help us?
While it may sound like a fun fact, there is importance to this knowledge.
1. You can tell when a possum is feeling threatened and possibly rescue it from a predator.
2. It serves as a warning or a call of distress.

Read the How to get rid of opossums page for helpful information and to learn more about Do possums hiss?

Do possums hiss?

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