Opossum Poop: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

Written by Taiwo Victor
Published: July 7, 2022
© Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock.com
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The Virginia opossums are unique among marsupials in that they are the only ones that may be found in the United States and Canada. Opossums are marsupial creatures with adorable facades; they have funny eyes, their noses are stretched out, and they resemble miniature marble foxes.

Even though they may not initially pose a serious threat, once they make a home in your attic or basement, these cute and fuzzy cat-like creatures can cause you trouble. Like any invasive pest, opossums are picky about where they build their nests.

Because opossums are nocturnal, it is hard to tell for sure if they are on your property or not. However, you can rely on additional cues to prove an opossum invasion. You can search for their paw prints, noises coming from the attic, and other things. And because they have a reputation for excreting a lot of waste, the greatest way to recognize an opossum invasion is from their poop! So what does opossum poop look like? And what danger does it leave behind? This article will explore everything you’ve ever wanted to know about opossum poop, its smell, and other interesting facts.

What Does Opossum Poop Look Like?

Opossums poop resembles dog poop in both color and appearance quite significantly. These reasons make it tricky to identify opossum droppings, especially if you have dogs as pets. But unlike dogs, opossums leave their waste in a mound, producing two or three huge droppings rather than many small fragments or pellets.

Fecal matter from opossums has the unusual trait of curling as the animal excretes the feces. Their droppings are large and cylindrical, with a 3/4-inch diameter and a length of 1 to 3 inches. The two key ways to identify it are the dark brown to practically black color of the opossum poop and its smooth sides.

Opossums are also scavengers or opportunistic hunters. Being omnivorous creatures, they eat nearly anything they can get their paws on. This means we cannot use a stick to check feces to identify the species based on what they have eaten, unlike raccoons.

Does Opossum Poop Smell?

The overwhelming, awful smell would be one of the earliest blatant indications of opossum poop. The opossum dung stinks just as badly as you would anticipate. Or worse! Opossums are infamous for their foul smell in addition to their invasive tendencies. No matter how old it is, opossum poop always smells rotten. They typically combine their excrement and urination, and the feces would get moist and emit an intolerable odor due to the ammonia in the pee.

Once the area where the animal pooped has been cleansed, you can only then get rid of the stench of opossum feces.

Where Do Opossums Poop?

Happiest Animals: Opossum
Opossums frequently poop in attics and basements.

©Evelyn D. Harrison/Shutterstock.com

Unlike raccoons, opossums do not use a single latrine. Instead, they have been observed to poop anywhere.

Opossums frequently poop in attics and basements, on the grass in the backyard, and close to the trash can. Additionally, opossums often poop in protected leafy regions and close to their feeding areas. They can also defecate in water sources like swimming pools. So, if you reside in a community where opossums are an issue, close the swimming pool and any other water sources you may have. In this manner, possum poop contamination can be prevented.

Do Opossums Poop When They Play Dead?

Opossums Play Dead - opossum in grass
Opossums don’t poop while they are dead.

©iStock.com/ScrappinStacy

No, opossums don’t poop while they play dead, but a foul odor may have led some people to believe otherwise. An opossum not only appears lifeless but also smells dead. They expel a liquid from glands near they tail when they pretend to be dead. The mucus emits a foul smell, giving a predator more justification to continue down the trail. Countless opossums have eluded capture thanks to their foul smell and appearance of being dead.

Is Opossum Poop Dangerous?

Yes, opossum poop is extremely dangerous since it contains many disease-causing bacteria and viruses that can cause leptospirosis and salmonella. The Buruli bacteria is the most dangerous one, and Mycobacterium ulcerans is the name of the bacteria that causes this disease. It will initially manifest as painless bumps on the arms and legs, and large sores will eventually develop from these bumps. A permanent deformity may ensue if the Buruli ulcer is not diagnosed and treated on time. Direct contact with opossum poop has been determined to spread all these illnesses.

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), which affects horses‘ neurological systems, has also been discovered in opossums. Horses typically contract this illness by consuming food or water that has been tainted with Sarcocystis neurona-infected opossum feces.

In addition to all these risks, opossum poop carries a significant threat from the fungal spores. When inhaled, these fungus spores can severely damage your heart and lungs and eventually infect your blood. Hence, it is crucial to eliminate the opossum poop from your surroundings, but it’s also crucial to do so correctly and with extreme care.

What Do Opossums Eat?

Animals That Play Dead opossum
As omnivores, opossums eat anything they can find.

Because they are omnivorous, opossums will consume nearly anything they can. They could hardly be described as picky eaters because they like various foods derived from plants and animals. Generally, an opossum’s food choice is largely influenced by its surroundings. They change their diet based on the season since they are less active in the winter. However, some things make up most of an opossum’s diet, while others are consumed sporadically. They also like certain foods over others, so when they are available, they tend to choose to eat them.

Additionally, these mammals will hunt mice, worms, snakes, insects, birds, and even chickens. Many opossum species can feast on rattlesnakes and pit vipers because they are resistant to their venom. One quality that has contributed to the opossum’s success as a species is its adaptability when it comes to its food.


The Featured Image

Silver Animals - Gray Four-Eyed Opossum
A gray four-eyed opposum (Philander opossum) sits on a wooden beam under a building's roof in the Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica. These silver animals have a spot of white fur above each eye.
© Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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