General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

What is the tick grazing strategy of the common Opossum?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12014points) September 7th, 2021
11 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Do they nibble them off branches? Foraging for them?

I suspect, instead, they simply walk and climb through the forest then stop occasionally to groom. On the hike, they pick up ticks for a healthy snack! Is this correct?

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Dutchess_III's avatar

Well ticks hang out everywhere in the grass and the woods.
It astonishes me that we have been camped for 4 months in an RV park, right next to the woods. Cato has yet to lug home a tick.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The ticks get on their fur as they walk through tall grass and brush. Later they groom themselves and eat the ticks.
National Wildlife Foundation says oppossums can eat 5000 ticks per season.

smudges's avatar

^ “Good possum, who’s a good boy!”

LuckyGuy's avatar

“Good possum ”, indeed!. Though they sure sure are ugly,
I can watch them slink around my wood pile in the early evening. They seem so pathetic.

smudges's avatar

I hate to say it because I love all animals, but yeah, they’re kinda not so purty!

Dutchess_III's avatar


LuckyGuy's avatar

I have a Leupold VX-II, Krypton/Argon gas filled, 3–9x, 40mm rifle scope that is an excellent telescope for viewing wildlife. The opossum will occasionally visit the area where I feed the neighborhood fox – 65 yards away. It is so interesting to watch it eat – always slowly looking around, slowly moving, slinking along the wood pile. It looks pathetic but I figure it is doing some good so enjoy!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I once woke at 6 am to my husband fumbling with the window above my head. There was a laundry basket by my head.
“What are you doing?” I mumbled.
“There’s a baby possum on the window sill!”
I raised my head up to see, and there, just a few inches from my face, was a scared baby possum.
“Cute little guy,” I mumbled and laid back down.
Rick snarled “Cute little guy my ass!!!” Just as he got the screen open and he shoved the cute little guy out the window and into the bushes.

snowberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Tell him that opossums don’t have much of a mothering instinct. The mother carries them around on her back. If one falls off, it needs to climb back on by itself. If the mom was moving too fast when it fell off, oh well. At that point it’s on its own.

So you can make your own guess as to what happened to that baby possum.

By the way, I rescued a baby possum once. I was thinking of fostering it myself until I realized how horribly it smelled. Then I discovered that there were people who fostered them until they were old enough to be released back into the wild. That was a relief!

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smudges's avatar

^ flagged

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