Opossum Playing Dead

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Nov 3, 2019.

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  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Dog and I went to close up barn shortly after dark. We were also to get eggs left in basket. Opossum about 2/3 grown was walking about in a pen. It was likely already stuff on most of the eggs in the basket. It was the fattest and furriest opossum I have ever seen. Dog walked over to it in no big hurry and sniffed from the side. The opossum fell over as if pushed over by the dogs nose. Opossum then played dead and dog walked off to check rest of barn. When the opossums growl or run the dog attacks.

    I dispatched opossum. Chickens could see opossum the whole time but made not alarm calls. They were used to it. One hen was a little fluffed up like when an owl visits, but only her.
     
  2. Fairyloop5

    Fairyloop5 Songster

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    That’s odd, opossums don’t usually play dead. It had obviously been scared by something before you went out. When approached by predators, when an opossum plays dead, it can badly injure them.
     
  3. Cryss

    Cryss Free Ranging

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    :hmm:tongue
    Opossum are good for ticks, but nothing else. Good job saving future eggs.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    I have had them play dead before although not so quickly.
     
  5. Tortoise

    Tortoise Songster

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    That's what opossums do, play dead. Years ago 2 of my dogs went out into the yard and a opossum played dead the whole time they ran around it, sniffed it, etc. Luckily it did or my dogs would have been badly injured or dead.
    As for the opossum and chickens. I have opossum in my yard every night. They never show an interest in the fact there are two chickens being housed right next to where the opossum are sniffy the ground. I have never seen them even sniff n and around the run nor try to get in. Thankfully.
    Oh and the saying "playing opossum" means playing dead, like the opossum do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  6. so lucky

    so lucky Crowing

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    I guess if the chickens were used to seeing the opossum hanging around, they would be an easy target when the critter decided to attack.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    They can get out of the way. Lights on dim in barn so chickens can see threats. Chickens move when opossum approaches. I have not lost a chicken in over 2 years to opossums since lights installed.
     
  8. glassdragonfly

    glassdragonfly Crowing

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    We have lots of opossum around here. Never had any problem with them other than getting in the live traps and staying in them all day. We don't see any need to kill them when they don't bother anything.
     
  9. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Crossing the Road

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    When I lived down south we had lots of opossums around. They loved eggs, and would occasionally kill a chicken or two. We started trapping and dispatching them.
    And yes they absolutely do play dead.
     
  10. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

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    Ummmmm......it's called "playin' possum" for a reason. It's a defense mechanism.
     

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