What Do Possums Eat?

by Derrick | Last Updated: December 22, 2023

Are you finding your garden raided or curious about the nighttime visitors snacking in your yard? Opossums are often the culprits, with their diverse and adaptable appetites. Our blog post will unveil what possums munch on, from wild foraging to suburban feasting, helping you understand and manage these nocturnal neighbors.

Keep reading; it’s fascinating!

Opossum Diet in the Wild

In the wild, opossums have an omnivorous diet consisting of insects such as beetles, crickets, and cockroaches, small animals like frogs and rodents, and plants, fruits, and grains.

Their varied diet allows them to adapt to different environments and food sources.

Insects such as beetles, crickets, and cockroaches

Possums feast on various insects, which comprise a crucial part of their diet. Beetles, crickets, and cockroaches provide these nocturnal creatures with the protein they need to thrive in the wild.

Possums use their keen sense of smell to locate these crunchy critters by scouring through leaf litter and decaying logs. These insect meals are nutritious for possums and help control pest populations in the garden.

Crickets chirping at night often attract hungry possums looking for a snack. Roaming through gardens and forests, opossums munch on beetles they find hiding under rocks or inside tree bark.

Cockroaches that scuttle across the forest floor don’t stand a chance against the swift paws of an opossum on the hunt. As omnivores with diverse palates, possums play an essential role in maintaining balance by feeding on various insects that could otherwise become nuisances.

Small animals like frogs and rodents

Frogs and rodents are part of the opossum’s diet in the wild. These small animals provide a source of protein for opossums, contributing to their omnivorous nature.

Opossums actively hunt for frogs and rodents as part of their natural feeding habits.

Plants, fruits, and grains

Possums are opportunistic eaters and consume a variety of plants, fruits, and grains in the wild. They readily devour berries, grapes, apples, and even vegetables like sweet potatoes and corn when available.

Possums also feed on nuts such as acorns or pecans that have fallen to the ground. In addition to plant matter, these omnivorous creatures play a vital role in seed dispersal within their natural habitats.

In human-occupied areas, possums might raid gardens for fruits and vegetables during certain times of the year. Their ability to adapt their diet based on seasonal availability means they can be particularly fond of cultivated crops like tomatoes or squash when ripe.

Unexpected Foods on the Possum Menu

Possums have a varied diet that includes unexpected foods such as dead animals, eggs, fish, and amphibians. These opportunistic feeders are known for consuming a wide range of food sources in the wild.

Dead animals

Possums scavenge for dead animals as part of their diet, including roadkill and carcasses left behind by other predators. Consuming carrion helps them meet their protein needs. This scavenging behavior also serves a vital role in the ecosystem by aiding in decomposition and reducing waste buildup.

When opossums come across dead animals, they instinctively recognize it as a food source, using their keen sense of smell to locate the decaying flesh. Once located, they consume the meat to supplement their omnivorous diet with essential nutrients from these unconventional sources.


Possums are opportunistic feeders and will consume various unexpected foods, including eggs. They have been known to raid bird nests for their eggs, making them a concern for backyard chicken owners.

Possums’ ability to climb allows them access to nesting birds or unprotected henhouses where they can effectively hunt for eggs without being detected.

Another surprising fact about possums is that they can also scavenge the remains of other animals, giving them an even more comprehensive range of dietary options. This behavior makes it essential for homeowners and farmers to safeguard poultry and other small animals from these resourceful omnivores.


Possums are omnivorous creatures and will consume various foods , including fish. In the wild, possums may scavenge for small fish in streams or ponds as part of their diverse diet.

It’s common for them to take advantage of available aquatic food sources.

In human-occupied areas, possums might also target fish if they have access to ornamental ponds or other water features containing fish. Therefore, securing these areas is important as part of wildlife management efforts and control strategies.

Amphibians and reptiles

Possums consume a variety of food, including amphibians and reptiles. They hunt for frogs, toads, and small lizards they can catch. Additionally, possums have been observed eating snakes when given the opportunity.

This diverse diet helps them survive in different environments while balancing plant- and animal-based foods.

Their ability to feed on amphibians and reptiles shows their role as omnivorous animals with adaptable feeding habits. Their consumption of these creatures may help control local populations, contributing positively to wildlife management efforts.

Opossum Diet in Human-occupied Areas

In human-occupied areas, opossums are known for raiding compost piles, garbage cans, and pet food dishes for their meals. This behavior can lead to conflicts with homeowners and gardeners.

Raiding compost piles, garbage cans, and pet food dishes

Possums are notorious for raiding compost piles, garbage cans, and pet food dishes. They are attracted to the smell of decaying organic matter in compost piles and can feast on leftover food scraps found in garbage cans.

Additionally, pet food left outside becomes an easy target for these resourceful critters.

These opportunistic feeders have a keen sense of smell that leads them to these easily accessible food sources. It’s essential to secure and cover compost bins, use animal-proof lids or bins for garbage cans, and bring pet food indoors to discourage possums from frequenting these areas.

Ways to Control Opossums’ Eating Habits

Secure food sources and use humane methods to deter opossums from gardens and yards. Read more about effective ways to manage possum habits and behavior.

Remove attractants and secure food sources.

To control opossums’ eating habits, it is crucial to remove attractants and secure food sources in human-occupied areas. Store pet food indoors, clean up fallen fruits and vegetables in the garden, and close trash cans tightly to prevent opossums from raiding compost piles or garbage cans.

By securing potential food sources, you can reduce the likelihood of attracting opossums to your property.


In conclusion, opossums have diverse diets in the wild, consuming insects like beetles and crickets and small animals such as frogs and rodents. They also eat plants, fruits, grains, and unexpected foods like dead animals and eggs.

They raid compost piles, garbage cans, and pet food dishes in human-occupied areas. Understanding their eating habits is crucial for managing their presence effectively.