Possums and Humans: What You Need to Know

by Derrick | Last Updated: May 14, 2021

If you spend a lot of time outdoors you will surely come into contact with wild animals. Possums are fairly common all over the United States and are present in many other countries.

Possums are often seen as pests and are killed as a nuisance animal.

Do Possums Attack Humans and Are They Dangerous?

Overall, possums are not dangerous to humans unless they have rabies or some other illness, rabies can have a significant impact to how animals act and possums with rabies are no different.

A possum with rabies can be very unpredictable so do not take chances and assume the animal is not a danger to you. On a positive note while possums have had rabies they are a lot less prone to rabies than other animals such as skunks or raccoons.

Remember that any type of contact with animals like possums should be handled using good hygiene practices and by wearing gloves. It may seem obvious but if an animal bites or scratches you it’s important to wash the area thoroughly as soon as possible if you suspect they have rabies seek appropriate medical attention.

Animals can also attack or act aggressive if they are cornered. The basic premise is if you are unsure seek a professional person experienced with animal control to remove the possum for you.

Are Possums Aggressive Towards Humans?

No possums are no aggressive towards humans. Possums would prefer to avoid contact with humans if possible. Possums will generally run away if they see a human. That doesn’t mean a human should chase a possum or try and provoke it. Leave the animal have an escape path and just go about your business.

Are Possums Dangerous Towards Kids?

Possums can be dangerous to kids. Possums like any other wild animal could be aggressive and with children you wouldn’t want to take a chance that they may get hurt. Overall, on the grand scale of things I would say possums are a more docile animal so I wouldn’t be overly concerns, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you live near a wooded area, seeing a possum may be a common occurrence. They are nocturnal animals, so expect the most possum sightings to happen at night. If you do see a possum during the day it may be concerning and you should encourage your kids to avoid them.

Following some general principles can keep your kids safe. Do not keep food or garbage scraps outside of trash containers. Possums will occasionally come into your yard to seek out easy food.

Keep brush trimmed back so you and your family can see anything that is coming near your yard. Having less places for them to hide usually will keep them at more of a distance.

Are Possum Bites Dangerous and Do They Hurt?

Possum bites are dangerous and they could hurt. Like most animals possums can carry bacteria in their mouths and a bite if not properly treated could become infected.

If you do happen to get bit by a possum you should clean the wound first and then call your doctor. Your doctor will advise you of the proper process to follow.

When you do call your doctor be sure to give them as much information as possible. This includes:

1) The time of day when you were bit

2) How the possum was acting

3) Did the possum appear to be sick

4) Anything you did after you were bit

Can Possum Bites Kill You?

More than likely not as long as you take proper steps following getting bitten. Your doctor should be able to give you the best advice to ensure you are following the proper steps to have a successful recovery.

Is It Safe To Handle A Possum?

Generally speaking I would not recommend handling a possum. If you do pickup a possum it will likely feel threatened and try to bit or claw you to get away. If you have a possum stuck somewhere and want to humanely remove it you should call a professional animal control person.

If you do decide to do it yourself you should take some precautions like wearing safety glasses, heavy duty leather gloves and long sleeves of a thick jacket that will be more resistant to bites and scrapes.

Do Possums Carry Diseases?

According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas.

They also may be carrying lice, fleas or even ticks, that are undesirable to humans.

Given this it is best to avoid possums which will present you from contracting any diseases or running into any of the undesirable pests that my be on the possum.

When Are You Likely To See Possums?

You will likely see possums during evening to nighttime hours, sometimes you will see possums during the day. Usually this is when they may be sick, or the possums resting area may have been disturbed. Being a nocturnal animal, possums are marsupials and prefer to be active during the nighttime.

Should I Let a Possum Live Under My House?

This really is a personal preference. Some people like having wildlife around their property. Personally, I would not let a possum live under my house or anywhere on my property. Over time they will multiply and likely be a nuisance and it could be rather expensive to remove them once they are established.

Being in or around your structures could not only be dangerous to you, but may be dangerous to the possum as well. Possums could also be destructive to your property, if they are living under your house they may chew something or cause other undesired damage.