Why Do Opossums Play Dead?

When confronted by predators, opossums usually try to bluff their way out of danger by baring their teeth, hissing, and growling. However, if this fails, opossums close their eyes, fall onto their side, and play dead.

An opossum playing dead may drool, let its tongue loll from its open mouths, and excrete waste to support the illusion of sudden death. Opossums can maintain this state of thanatosis for several hours until they are certain the danger has passed.

How to Take Care of an Opossum Problem

Homeowners who come across seemingly dead opossums should never attempt to handle the pests. Although they appear lifeless, opossums playing dead are fully alert and may bite or scratch if grabbed, which can spread dangerous illnesses like rabies, tuberculosis, leptospirosis, and spotted fever.

The best way to get rid of opossums is to contact the wildlife removal experts at Critter Control. Our teams of trained professionals are equipped to safely handle and remove troublesome opossums before they cause problems in yards or homes.