Night-Vision Camera Captures an Opossum Body-slamming a Pesky Skunk

Opossums Play Dead
iStock.com/randimal

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: October 25, 2023

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The skunk in this clip starts off thinking that it is the dominant animal but soon finds out that is very far from the case. It approaches an opossum who knows how to stand up for itself! The marsupial deftly grabs hold of the skunk and throws it onto its back. All the skunk can do is shake itself off and stare after the opossum in amazement. Scroll down to see the full extraordinary nighttime footage.

What Exactly Are Opossums?

Opossums are native marsupials of the United States but they also live in Canada. Some people still hunt them but other people look at them as pests. They have a reputation for scavenging around garbage cans. The species that live in the United States is called the Virginia opossum. It is sometimes called the common opossum. As a marsupial, they have a pouch where they keep their babies until they are mature enough to head off into the world by themselves.

They are about the same size as a domestic cat. So, they are around 2.5 feet long and they weigh up to 13 pounds or so. They are usually gray and have a white face with a long, pointed nose. They also have 50 teeth!

These guys live a solitary life and are usually slow-moving. This one was caught on a night camera because they are most active at night when they are out and about scavenging for food. They are omnivores so they will eat both plants and animal material – human food is a particular treat for them! They also hunt birds, mice, and even snakes. Opossums have very few natural predators except for humans and can stand up to a skunk attack!

Illegal Pets to Own In the United States: Skunks

Skunks have a distinctive black and white coat.

What Exactly Are Skunks?

Skunks are a native species of Asia, North America, and South America. Even though it is dark in this footage, you can see the distinctive black-and-white markings on the skunk’s coat. There are 12 different species of skunks including the eastern spotted skunk and the western spotted skunk. Skunks are a similar size to opossums – a maximum of 19 inches long with a tail that can be another 15 inches. They weigh up to a maximum of around 14 pounds. Skunks live a mainly solitary life and are omnivores. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat fruit and plants as well as rodents, worms, and bird’s eggs. In turn, they are hunted by the great horn owl but they are also targeted by golden eagles, foxes, and coyotes.

Watch the Incredible Clip Below


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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