8 Common Foods Possums Eat In Winter

Written by Trista Sobeck
Published: December 20, 2023
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What’s smaller than a honeybee when born and has the cutest little nose but likes to snack on dead things? If you said the possum—also known as an opossum (didelphidae), you’d be right! There are many types of foods possums eat in the winter. And, you can help them survive!

8 Foods Possums Eat in Winter
Possums would be happy to get any of these nutritious foods during the winter months.

The common opossum lives in many places throughout the United States but is found far and wide throughout Virginia. Although many animals hibernate in the winter, the possum doesn’t! He faces frostbite on his tail and feet if he stays out too long because his hair is on the thinner side. Possums hunker down in their dens and wait out the colder weather. 

baby Opossums in mothers pouch (Didelphis marsupialis

Baby possums are tiny and live in their mothers’ pouch.

©Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

So, what does the possum eat during the winter if he stays warm and burrowed in his den? Unfortunately, because of this burrowing behavior, they tend to sleep near homes and suburban areas. Therefore, people like to view them as “pests.” 

opossum in tree with babies on its back

Opossums clean up waste, bacteria, and ticks from the environment.

©Holly Kuchera/Shutterstock.com

Possums are scavengers, which is why they are known to get into people’s trash cans and eat leftover food. But they aren’t pests! They just can’t help it; it’s in their nature to, well, scavenge. So, when you see a family of opossums huddling near your house and in your neighborhood, empathize with them. They are just simply existing.

Many folks will find themselves annoyed at the opossum behavior and will call an exterminator. The exterminator will more than likely try to relocate it, however, this often proves fatal for the animal. Meanwhile, your best course of action is to figure out what foods possums eat in the winter and be neighborly!

Relocation is Not Always a Happy Story

Because the possum is territorial, it will have to fight to survive when it is put into a foreign territory. This generally doesn’t end up well for the displaced opossum. The best course of action is to help the animal survive safely right where it is. 


Common Opossum walking on new backyard fence. If they live in your backyard, try to coexist.

©galinast/iStock via Getty Images

The extra effort may annoy some folks whose trash cans are getting knocked over, but remember; animals were here first. The best action is to live alongside them and help when necessary.

How to Help the Possum in Your Backyard

One of the ways to help the possum or possum family that may have been knocking over your trash and eating it in the middle of the night is to provide a nest box for it. If the possum has a safe place to go and eat, it will likely stay away from your roofs and trash! 

Once you create a comfy, warm box for your friendly neighborhood possums, you’ll want to make sure your garden food gets protected with a wire mesh. This will deter them from eating the food you are growing for yourself. But remember, there is a little give and take. So, provide for them, and you’ll live happily together.

Pest opossum nesting in bureau drawer

Help your backyard possum family with a sheltered spot that’s dry, quiet, and dark.


Here are the top 8 foods possums eat in the winter and what you can provide your opossums so they will coexist with you and your way of life.

Also, if you have a garden, you want these guys around. They eat slugs, bugs, and even small rodents.

  1. Fruit: Opossums love berries and watermelons, grapes, and bananas. These animals are also great at digesting fibrous foods, but food like this will keep them happy and provide a yummy treat.
  2. Veggies: The fiber in the vegetables is good for the animals, and they are adept at digesting them. Great veggies are corn, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, and carrots. One easy strategy to deter them from eating your garden veggies is creating an eggshell mixture with egg powder and water. Spray it near your garden. 
  3. Sardines with Bones Packed in Water: Opossums are omnivores. They eat both plant and animal matter. This includes those salty little fish you put on your pizza. Just remember to keep the bones in for them.
  4. Chicken Wings: No, they probably aren’t watching football, but gnawing on chicken wings excites your possum neighbors to coexist nicely with your possum neighbors to coexist nicely with you.
  5. Any meat with the Bone: When an opossum eats an animal in the wild, it will consume the entire animal, including the bones. Do not provide boneless meats.
  6. Dog or Cat Kibble: A bit of dog or cat kibble is ok for these animals. However, try to rely on something other than just this food as it is not 100% nutritious for them.
  7. Eggs: You can set out raw or hardboiled eggs, as opossums consume eggs in the wild.
  8. Whole Almonds: Opossums basically originated the trendy phrase, “girl dinner.”

So, if you have a possum family and its bothering you, make friends. Be neighborly.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © DAPA images/ via Canva.com

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About the Author

Writer. Thinker. Human. Fan of octopods, sloths, and big green plants. Currently roller skating without knee pads. I live dangerously.

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